Sad, but very true. This shocking story came from Patricia Kilday Hart at the Houston Chronicle…
Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a bill that would have let victims of wage discrimination sue in state court after receiving letters against the measure from the Texas Retailers Association and five of its members, mostly grocery stores, according to records obtained by the Houston Chronicle.
Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, who authored HB 950 mirroring the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, said she unaware that the group and the businesses opposed her bill, or that they sought a gubernatorial veto.
Among the businesses advocating for a veto was Kroger Food Stores.
“I shop at Kroger’s for my groceries,” Thompson said. “I shopped there just last week. I’m going to have to go to HEB now. I am really shocked.”
Also writing to seek a veto were representatives of Macy’s, the Houston grocery company Gerland Corp. [Food Town], Brookshire Grocery Company, Market Basket, the Texas Association of Business and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
HEB is a member of the Texas Retailers Association, but lobbyist Rusty Kelley said the company did not lobby against the bill.
The letters to Perry provide a behind-the-scene glimpse of the legislative process. Entities such as the Texas Retailers Association can seek a gubernatorial veto without the knowledge of sponsors. Thompson and her Senate counterpart, Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, say they were blind-sided by Perry’s veto and the retailers’ opposition.
Veteran Austin lobbyist Bill Miller said seeking a gubernatorial veto is a common lobby tactic. “That’s a smart play. You don’t fade the heat (by publicly opposing a bill) on the front end and you win on the back end.” He said that, except for the Chronicle’s open records request, “no one would be the wiser. You do what you gotta do to protect your client.”
Makes you wonder how many of Perry’s other seemingly ludicrous vetos were done in this manner. But in any case, this is unacceptable. I can’t believe that I have to write sentences like these, but women are equal citizens in every way. Why would anyone support laws that discriminate against a woman’s ability to earn fair wages, and pursue those fair wages if they’ve been stolen from her? It’s because of that reasoning that the bill passed the hyper partisan Texas Legislature with bi-partisan support… it’s the right thing to do!! And yet Governor Perry would rather please his lobbyist friends than stand with Texas women?
Give me a break.
Houstonians may be less familiar with Brookshires, but the grocery store chain is a staple of East Texas. In fact for many small towns north of Houston and East of Dallas in the state, Brookshires may be the only major grocery store for 30 miles. Brookshires also has stores located in Arkansas and Louisiana.
Gerland Corp is a prominent grocer in the Houston area as well, as the owner and proprietor of all Food Town grocery stores. I plan to boycott all of these businesses, because I don’t want my money going to places that don’t support Texas women. Kroger is going to be especially tough, but it will happen. Houston State Senator Sylvia Garcia, who had a scheduled appearance at a Macy’s store earlier this week, cancelled that and all other events for businesses affiliated with blocking the legislation. Progress Texas already has a petition drive for the boycott. As readers, I would urge you to do the same. And to make it even easier, here are some handy maps letting you know where NOT to go.
Fellow blogger Dos Centavos has an excellent post on this as well.