Lt. Governor Dan Patrick held a press conference on Monday, February 6 to provide an update on the Texas Privacy Act, Senate Bill 6, commonly referred to as the “Bathroom Bill”. The press conference was held largely in response to Texas Association of Business (TAB) comments that passing the bill could cost the State. TAB commissioned the study at Saint Edward’s University in Austin and claims “Up to $8.5 billion GDP loss, 185,000 jobs at risk if Texas passes so-called ‘religious freedom’ and ‘bathroom bills’”. In response to much discussion about this study, PolitiFact released an analysis and labeled these claims as “mostly false”.
Lt. Gov. Patrick was joined at the press conference by Senators Hancock, Hughes, Perry, Hall, Campbell, Bettencourt, Huffines, and the bill’s author, Senator Lois Kolkhorst. In the press conference, Lt. Gov. Patrick called the report “bogus” and pointed out that the study was written in December 2015. The study based a large part of its conclusion on the assumption that the Super Bowl would move to a different city if such a bill was considered or passed. However, as the Super Bowl was held in Houston this past Sunday, much of the conclusion becomes invalid.
Although the Lt. Governor and much of the Texas Senate have made SB 6 a top priority, its fate is still unknown. Speaker of the House, Joe Straus, does not seem to hold the same desire to get the legislation through the lower chamber. Speaker Straus spoke to the Texas Association of Business and asserted that the “‘Bathroom bill’. . . was not his most urgent concern for the 85th Legislative Session.”
He went even further and stated that “we should be ‘very careful’ about doing anything that makes the state less economically competitive.”
The full press conference can be watched online. Senate Bill 6 has been referred to the Senate State Affairs committee but has not yet been set for a hearing.
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