Criticism of the proposed Senate Bill 6 in Texas continues to grow along with concerns about the potential economic fallout that could result from the bill due to a loss of tourism-based revenue. A drastic fallout was seen in North Carolina after the implementation of a similar law, the controversial HB2.
More than 135 singers and actors have joined their voices to the opposition, some of whom are scheduled to tour in Texas in 2017. The NFL has also warned that a discriminatory law could affect decisions regarding whether or not Texas will host future Super Bowls.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has staunchly defended the bill, arguing that SB6 is not the same as N.C.’s law. The bill in Texas would restrict bathroom use in government facilities and public schools, but would allow sports leagues, artists and other private businesses to set their own policies while leasing space in a publicly-owned venue.
However, concerned business leaders doubt the effectiveness of such a loophole. Visit Dallas CEO Phillip Jones told The Texas Tribune, “We have discussed that with our meeting planners and sports organizers — they don’t care about the nuances. Perception is reality, and if there's a perception that there's a discrimination taking place in Texas that's sanctioned by the state as a result of this bill, they will bypass Texas.”
“Across the board, the people who are the job creators and economic engines of our country are saying, ‘Stop this. Not only are you hurting people by doing this, but you’re hurting the reputation of our state,' " said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
The Texas Association of Business has also chimed in against the bill, on the grounds that news of the bill is already affecting the state’s recruitment efforts and investment opportunities. None of this has affected Patrick’s zeal for the bill, who told press in D.C. on Wednesday, “We have a $1.6 trillion economy. No one is going to ding us.”
Governor Gregg Abbott broke a neutral streak regarding the bill by expressing his recent frustrations with the NFL on a radio show Tuesday, according to The Washington Post, saying, “The NFL needs to concentrate on playing football and get the heck out of politics.”
“We don’t care what the NFL thinks, and certainly what their political policies are, because they are not a political arm of the state of Texas or the United States of America,” Abbott told Glen Beck on the air.