The so-called “Bathroom Bill” wins preliminary approval from the full Texas Senate.
“We debate this bill not to start a controversy–but to give guidance” Senator Lois Kolkhorst said of the bill she wrote, which has generated plenty of controversy both across Texas and around the United States.
“We heard from San Antonio about the threats that they have received about conventions possibly leaving your city” Kolkhorst said, referring in large part to a Texas Association of Business study that projected an economic backlash against Texas if the bill were to pass.
The Senator quickly pointed to other evidence that might seem to debunk such findings.
“We learned from North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest that in the last year, North Carolina’s tourism is up in all one-hundred counties” Kolkhorst said, referring to the impact the Tar Heel State has faced after passing it’s own similar “Bathroom Bill.”
Critics however are not at all convinced.
“I’ve heard that there are at least three conventions that have decided not to come to San Antonio–even if the bill were not to pass” Senator Carlos Uresti said.
“They’re doing well…. but how do we know they wouldn’t have done a lot better?” Senator John Whitmire asked in referencing the North Carolina Lieutenant Governor’s testimony before a Texas Senate Committee.
Whitmire also pointed to specific comments made by both the NBA and the NFL–which are not especially pleased with the Texas bill.
“Do you not believe that we are jeopardizing the opportunity to have more major events?” Whitmire asked.
But backers insist the State has to do something…. especially in the wake of then President Barack Obama’s controversial executive order on transgender bathroom policy in public schools.
“This violation of common sense was brought to us” Senator Donbna Campbell said.
Political watchers expect the bill to have a much tougher time in the Texas House–where it does not enjoy the support of key leaders… including Speaker Joe Straus.