By William Mellor
Vice President, Angeloueconomics
Legislative Update: 5/23/2017
The Bathroom Bill has been picking up steam as we near the close of Texas’ 85th Legislative Session. On Monday of this week, the Texas House passed an amended version of the Bathroom Bill.
Starting out, the Bathroom Bill was a stand-alone bill, Senate Bill 6. After much debate, SB 6 did eventually pass the Senate and make its way to the House, where it never picked up much traction. It is no secret that Texas House Speaker Joe Straus was not a fan of the Bathroom Bill and that it the bill was not a priority for the House agenda. However, the House did pick up their own version, House Bill 2899. While HB 2899 narrowed the scope of SB 6, it was still untenable from the point of view of LGBT advocates. After a committee hearing that went into late evening early morning, the bill ended up dying in committee. On Monday, the Bathroom Bill amendment was added to Senate Bill 2078, a bill regarding emergency procedures in schools.
Regardless of how it becomes law, the fact still remains that Bathroom Bill legislation is bad for Texas. A study completed by AngelouEconomics details the negative impacts that would result from this type of discriminatory legislation.
Of course, the negative impacts to tourism have been widely documented, but the industry group Meeting Professionals International has contributed a unique perspective. In a survey meant to understand the likelihood that various controversial bills might have in becoming law, the Bathroom Bill was identified as the bill most likely to drive economic activity away from Texas.
In a survey of site selection consultants, 83% stated that discriminatory legislation will negatively impact Texas’ economic development efforts. Furthermore, 45% stated that discriminatory legislation would negative impact their own willingness to locate projects in Texas.
Irrespective of your personal beliefs regarding the Bathroom Bill, there is a very real and very pragmatic reason to oppose the legislation – it’s bad for business and bad for Texas’ economy.