Failing to Learn from North Carolina Disaster, Texas Lt. Gov. Threatens Special Session in Attempt to Pass Anti-Transgender BillBy Adam Polaski • May 17, 2017 • 2:23 pm
This morning, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced that he will halt important legislation from moving through the state Senate unless the House passes two of his priority measures, including legislation that is identical to Senate Bill 6. Senate Bill 6 is a discriminatory, anti-transgender bill that Patrick has championed this year and has already passed in the Senate. If signed into law, it would prohibit transgender people from using the restroom that matches the gender they live as everyday, similar to North Carolina’s infamous HB 2.
Kasey Suffredini, Acting CEO & President of Strategy for Freedom for All Americans, said today:
“While we always knew that Lt. Gov. Patrick opposed the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Texans, we never thought he would hold an entire state’s agenda hostage in an attempt to pass discriminatory laws like SB 6. This bill has been roundly rejected from all sectors of the state, including the faith community, business leaders, public safety officers and more.”
Business leaders in the Lone Star State overwhelmingly oppose the legislation. Earlier this year, the Keep Texas Open for Business coalition and the Texas Association of Business found that the anti-transgender measure could cost the state more than $5.6 billion in revenue through 2026.
Last year, North Carolina faced a year long battle over HB 2, which, amongst other things, prohibited transgender people from using the restroom that matches their gender identity. The measure was hastily passed during a special session, putting the state in turmoil before it was partially repealed. In the end, HB 2 cost the state more than $1 billion, thousands of jobs and saw its reputation as a welcoming and business friendly state badly damaged.
“The parallels between HB 2 and what is happening in Texas are uncanny,” Suffredini said.
Supporters of the measure, including Patrick, say the discriminatory measure is needed for public safety, a claim that has been refuted by the state’s leading law enforcement officials. The Texas Municipal Police Association and the Combined Law Enforcement Agencies of Texas (CLEAT) stated that there’s no need for the discriminatory legislation. CLEAT’s executive director went so far as to say this about Patrick’s measure: “Texas has been governing illegal bathroom behavior for a while now. I’m not sure what the problem is that we’re trying to address.”
During his conference, Patrick stated that if the House does not give in to his demands, the legislature will be called back for a special session. However, only the governor can call a special session.
“Senate Bill 6 will damage the state’s economy and tarnish its business friendly reputation,” Suffredini added. “We call on the House and Gov. Greg Abbott to oppose Patrick’s preposterous demands.”