The Texas Legislature convenes only once every two years for a maximum of 140 days. Texas is one of only four states that meets biennially rather than annually. This means that Texas legislators vote on bills half as often as the vast majority of the country.
Aside from providing an excellent case for becoming a Texas legislator, this system means that each time the committee meets, there are highly important bills on the table. The 85th convention, scheduled for January 10th, 2017, is no different.
Headlining the upcoming session is a bill proposed by Texas Republicans that would force transgender people to use the bathroom matching their sex as opposed to their gender identity.
Laws involving gender equality have obviously become a polarizing issue. Surprisingly, one of the biggest opponents nationwide to anti-LGBT bills has been the business community. Many businesses argue against the bills based not on appealing to equality but on economic sense.
In Texas, many businesses are against the bill because they want to keep the state economically competitive, arguing that being inclusive to the LGBT community does so in measures such as:
- Attracting new business and company relocations
- Maintaining a lively tourism industry
- Attracting the most talented individuals to the state
North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, a bill with legislation like the soon to be voted on Texas bill, has cost its economy dearly. In a state as large as Texas, the repercussions would be far worse.
Dan A. Atkerson is a Dallas employment lawyer who handles issues such as worker misclassification, wage theft, discrimination and other forms of workplace injustice.