The Texas Legislature gathers today for a 30-day special session to discuss, among other pending legislation, Senate Bill 6, the State’s controversial “bathroom bill” modeled on North Carolina’s mostly repealed H.B. 2.
Many business leaders are strongly urging lawmakers not to pass the bill, calling the measure bad for the economy and citing the blowback seen in North Carolina after H.B. 2 passed. “The distraction of a bathroom bill pulls us away from being competitive as a state,” Jeff Moseley, chief executive of the Texas Association of Business, told a rally outside the Capitol.
The stakes are higher in Texas, which has an economy larger than Russia’s. Another bill similar to the North Carolina bill was defeated in regular session by pro-business Republicans. But the bill’s main backer, Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, a social conservative who sets the state Senate’s legislative agenda, has said economic losses would be inconsequential.
Texas-based companies made their vehement opposition to the bill public in a letter published on Monday and signed by 14 CEOs, including the leaders of American Airlines, Texas Instruments, and Southwest Airlines. The letter read, in part: “Our companies are competing every day to bring the best and brightest talent to Dallas. To that end, we strongly support diversity and inclusion. This legislation threatens our ability to attract and retain the best talent in Texas, as well as the greatest sporting and cultural attractions in the world.”