With all of the hope and promise that 2017 brings to the state of Texas, it also brings another set of critical opportunities to accomplish the People’s Business in the 2017 Texas Legislative Session. Per the Texas state constitution, our state legislatures meet on biennial basis for approximately half of the year. For a state more populous than the country of Australia and a GDP nearly equal to that of Russia, the work done in each cycle of the #TXLege is critical to keep the state, and the entire nation moving.
It may be a New Year, but it’s the same old Texas leadership. So it’s of little surprise that Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is less interested in doing the People’s Business, but would rather, umm… clog it up.
Say hello to SB6– The Texas Privacy Act. But don’t be fooled by the appealing name… This is simply another Discriminatory ‘Bathroom Bill’ designed to target innocent Texans, especially aimed at the Transgender Community. Lt. Gov. Patrick and others in the GOP leadership are determined to file the legislation and take it up in the Texas Senate, even after seeing that similar bills in states like Indiana and North Carolina have been met with devastating results to the state business community. As Lauren McGaughy of the Dallas Morning News points out, there’s also one other thing that SB6 would do…
AUSTIN – Cities like Dallas and Austin will have to undo local laws that protect transgender people from discrimination if Texas passes the so-called “bathroom bill” unveiled Thursday, a proposal panned by the business community that’s wreaked havoc on other states’ economies.
The bill mirrors similar legislation passed in North Carolina and Indiana in recent years. Those laws have caused substantial political headaches for those states’ leaders – Indiana’s was later amended to include some LGBT protects and North Carolina’s failed to be repealed in a special legislative session – and both cost millions in lost business investment.
The bill, Senate Bill 6, will impact cities, public schools and state agencies and will enhance some criminal penalties.
First, if passed into law the bathroom bill would prohibit cities from passing any ordinance that applies to a private business’ bathroom, locker room and shower rules. Cities that have already passed anti-discrimination laws to allow transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity would be kept from enforcing them.
Once again, hypocrisy abounds in Austin. After spending 8 years crowing about the Federal Government’s oppressive restrictions on our state, the Texas Big Government Overlords seem to think nothing of oppressing the will of municipal and county residents. If passed, SB6 would be yet another unprecedented move to snatch local control from Texas citizens, from the same leaders whom preach all day against “big government overreach”.
If state government has gotten to the point where it’s monitoring Number 1 and Number 2, overreach has descended to a whole new level.
With this in mind, Texans are already organizing to fight back. Today in Houston, business leaders, political leaders and activists from across the state gathered in response to the Lieutenant Governor’s filing saying that the Texas Legislature needs to “Flush Senate Bill 6” and the hashtag #FlushSB6 was immediately trending on twitter. Here’s a link to the full press conference, via Facebook Live.
Texas State Senator Sylvia Garcia was quick to push back against the measure in a statement…
“All Texans want to go to the bathroom in peace, including transgender people. That’s why it’s already illegal to enter a bathroom to harm someone and always will be. According to the Texas Association of Business, legislation like this could flush $8.5 billion and 100,000 jobs down the toilet. We need to focus on classrooms not bathrooms. My district needs bills that will create jobs, not political grandstanding job killers.”
Given that Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has already indicated that a bill like SB 6 would not a priority in his chamber, grandstanding is a likely outcome for the Lieutenant Governor during the upcoming session. But if 2015’s HERO backlash and the 2016 elections have taught any lessons at all, the first of them should be to expect the unexpected. Any advance of such harmful legislation should be fought hard and fought now.
So there we have it… Happy New Year Texas. Let’s hope this clog gets flushed out of the Legislature quickly, so we don’t have to waste taxpayer time and money on blatant discrimination. AGAIN.