Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Texas social conservatives declare war on business over state's transphobic 'bathroom' bill (kerry Eleveld) · Tuesday, March 07, 2017, 5:36 pm

Texas social conservatives watched longingly from afar as North Carolina lawmakers trashed the state's reputation, killed business opportunities, and lost numerous sporting events over an unenforceable "bathroom" bill based on unfounded fears.

As some Texas lawmakers hope to recreate the same scenario in the Lone Star State, they've already been put on notice by global investors worth more than $11 trillion, the NFL, and artists like Lady Gaga. But apparently vilifying transgender individuals so they can't use public restrooms safely is worth the cost. Texas Republicans planned to move ahead with a hearing Tuesday morning, writes Reid Wilson:

The measure, Senate Bill 6, is modeled on a similar law that passed the North Carolina legislature last year. Its chief sponsors, state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R) and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), say it is necessary to maintain a single state standard, rather than a patchwork of local laws. [...]

In Austin, the Texas Association of Business estimated that the state could lose $8.5 billion in economic activity if S.B. 6 passes. Economists and fact-checking organizations have questioned that number, which includes economic activity surrounding the Super Bowl, held last month in Houston.

Last week, about 70 businesses sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott (R), Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus (R) opposing the bill. American Airlines, which is headquartered in Fort Worth; Dell Inc., the largest privately held company headquartered in Texas; and tech companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft all signed the letter.

Lt. Gov. Patrick has called warnings of calamitous business repercussions "fear mongering," something social conservatives know a lot about. To date, no one has presented one shred of evidence that allowing transgender individuals to use bathrooms consistent with gender has harmed anyone.

But unfounded bigotry will forever be a staple of social conservatives—it's how they keep their coffers flush with cash as they risk everyone else’s jobs and economic well-being.


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