After North Carolina passed their so-called “bathroom bill” HB2, Texas Lt. Governor, Dan Patrick, made it his personal mission to pass a similar, just as degrading law in Texas.
Senate Bill 6, which Patrick unveiled in January 2017, would regulate the use of public restrooms, particularly in schools and government buildings, forcing transgender people to use restrooms according to their “biological sex”, rather than that of their true gender identity. The law would also overrule any local anti-discrimination laws put in place to protect the trans community and would prohibit most trans people from using public restrooms matching their gender identity. Not only does this cause major discriminatory concerns, but the economic result will be disastrous, with major companies already stating that they will not consider Texas for future expos if the bill passes. That alone will cost Texas upwards of half a billion dollars.
One such company, the American Public Transportation Association which holds events every three years, had Dallas in its sights for an upcoming APTA EXPO, with the event expected to generate more than $40 million in revenue for the city. With the “bathroom bill” progressing in Texas Legislature, the association had a warning for lawmakers. Lenay Gore, the association’s senior director of meetings and trade shows said:
We are looking at several cities for our EXPO and Dallas is one city under consideration. If the law passes, we would not consider Texas for any future meetings.”
And they are not alone. According to the Texas Tribune:
The group is just one of dozens of trade organizations, businesses and sports associations that have reached out to officials in Texas cities in recent months as the “bathroom bill” has drawn national attention. Tourism officials in the state’s four biggest cities – Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio – expect to lose at least $407 million in economic activity from missing out on potential upcoming events if the bill becomes law.
Mike Waterman, president of the Greater Houston Convention Visitors Bureau had this to say:
If this bill passes, by the time Texas feels any economic impact, it will be too late to react. You may not see a significant economic impact in 2017 or even 2018,” Waterman said. “But in 2019 you will see some and 2021, 2022 and 2023 could be potentially catastrophic.”
The Tribune also reports:
Dallas may be poised to take the hardest hit of the state’s largest cities, at least initially. Along with the American Public Transportation Association, three other groups have warned they may cancel upcoming events in the city over “bathroom bill” related-concerns, resulting in a $157 million loss to local coffers, according to city officials.
Phillip Jones, president of Visit Dallas, said another 20 organizations that might hold events in the city in the future have contacted local officials privately with concerns. All told, Dallas stands to lose at least another billion dollars in revenue from major events, especially if the city fails to secure an All-Star or Final Four game, he said.
Tom Noonan, president of the Austin visitors bureau, worries about the impact the legislation would have on the city’s brand as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” He said officials with two of Austin’s most high-profile music events – South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits festival – have expressed concerns about artists saying they won’t come and perform in Texas in the future.
In Arlington, where both the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers play, officials with the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau are concerned how the bill’s passage could impact Arlington’s brand as a major sports city. Asked by the Tribune about whether the bureau was worried about the impact to the city if SB 6 becomes law, the bureau responded with an emailed statement that pointed to several major events the city has hosted in the past with national sports associations such as the NCAA and NFL that have been outspoken on their opposition to the bathroom bill.
Lt. Governor Patrick was quoted saying, “The bill is about public safety and the privacy of teenagers who don’t want to shower together in the tenth grade,” but we all know that he is using children as a scapegoat to further the GOP’s bigoted agenda.
Once again, the GOP is putting party over country and it’s going to cost us.
Featured image via video screenshot ABC13