Global investors warn Texas on transgender bathroom bill


40 institutional investors say passing the bathroom bill would hurt businesses and the economy.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick predicts Senate passage in a few weeks, saying SB 6 is needed for privacy, safety.

Global investors who manage more than $11 trillion in assets, including companies in Texas, urged state leaders to reject a bill cracking down on transgender-friendly bathroom policies, arguing Tuesday that such “discriminatory legislation” is bad for business and the economy.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, however, accused prominent opponents of the transgender bathroom bill of losing their moral compass and predicted that the Texas Senate will debate and approve the legislation “in a few weeks.”

“This is not discriminatory. It’s (about) common sense, common decency and public safety,” Patrick said in a morning interview on KTSA radio in San Antonio. “This is the left gone mad; they’ve gone too far on this issue.”

Known as Senate Bill 6, the transgender bathroom measure has emerged as this session’s lightning-rod issue, stirring almost daily headlines as vocal opponents — led by pro-business organizations, large corporations, entertainers, and civil and gay rights groups — clash with conservative Republicans and social and religious conservative leaders who favor the bill.

TEXAS POLITICS DELIVERED EVERY DAY: Sign up for our Texas Politics email

The latest volley came from 40 institutional investors who sent a letter Tuesday imploring Patrick, Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, to oppose SB 6.

“Bills that deliberately limit the human rights of LGBT people are not only unjustified and unfair, but may have troubling financial implications for the business and investment climate in states, including in Texas,” the letter said. “Equality, diversity and inclusiveness are fundamental elements of a successful workplace, community and capital markets system.”

Other bills introduced this session would allow people or businesses to decline to serve same-sex couples or would overturn city anti-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people.

The letter warned that passage of SB 6 or other “discriminatory” bills would undermine the strong business environment that Texas has nurtured, diminishing the stable, predictable business climate that helps corporations thrive.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who led the letter-writing effort with Trillium Asset Management chief executive Matthew Patsky, said it was rare to see so many large investors united on an issue.

“Here’s why this matters to investors,” Stringer told reporters in a conference call. “In business, talent is everything. But when states are close-minded, when states embrace backwards legislation, the best and the brightest are driven away. Texas will lose talent, plain and simple.”

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: Our Lone Star Politics page brings Capitol news to your Facebook feed

SB 6 would require public schools and government buildings to limit public bathroom use to the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, though private businesses would be free to set pro-transgender bathroom policies if desired. The bill also would overturn city and county ordinances that require transgender-friendly bathrooms.

In his radio interview Tuesday morning, Patrick said SB 6 was essential to protect safety and privacy.

“My concern is not the handful of people who are true transgender people,” he said. “My concern is the sexual predators who are on probation, on parole, haven’t been caught yet — the same ones who troll the internet to find children and women and men and little boys. They will walk into bathrooms dressed as a man.

“Once you open up these ordinances, that any man can go in any bathroom at any time, you just open the door for sexual predators to do everything from planting cameras, to exposing themselves and harassing women, to assaulting women,” he said.

Although a public hearing has not yet been scheduled on SB 6, Patrick told radio host Trey Ware that witnesses will include women who were abused or had their privacy violated by men who had placed cameras in restrooms.

“I talk to a lot of women who were abused as children. In fact, we’re going to have a lady who will testify — probably (one of) several on that issue — who is going to say that, you know, I went through enough nightmares as a child; I don’t want to walk into a bathroom and see a grown man,” he said.

Patrick also criticized NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, whose leagues have indicated that passage of SB 6 would probably keep high-profile money-making events, such as the Super Bowl and the NBA All-Star Game, out of Texas.

Patrick said the commissioners have lost their moral compass and were “quaking over political correctness,” adding that the leagues were exempt from SB 6’s requirements because they were private businesses.

“So any team in Texas, if they want to allow men in the ladies room — I don’t think their fans will like it, but they can do it,” Patrick said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

North Korea replaces border soldiers after defection
North Korea replaces border soldiers after defection

After dramatic video surfaced of a North Korean guard defecting across the border into South Korea, Kim Jong Un’s government has replaced nearly all of the soldiers who were stationed at the site where the escape took place Nov. 13, CNN reported. “North Korea replaced almost all of its troops, if not all, at the Joint Security...
Trump tweets he 'took a pass' at being named Time's person of the year
Trump tweets he 'took a pass' at being named Time's person of the year

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that he “took a pass” at being named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” but the company’s chief content officer said there “wasn’t a speck of truth” in the president’s social media comment, CNN reported. >> Read more trending news &ldquo...
Florida teen in custody at border, is ‘person of interest’ in grandmother’s death
Florida teen in custody at border, is ‘person of interest’ in grandmother’s death

A 15-year-old Florida teen is in custody at the U.S.-Canada border, hours after police discovered the body of a woman believed to be his missing grandmother in a shallow grave near the boy’s home, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reported. Logan Tyler Mott was detained by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection as he tried to enter...
TEXAS DAM SAFETY: Statesman investigation prompts review by lawmakers
TEXAS DAM SAFETY: Statesman investigation prompts review by lawmakers

Key members of the Legislature and the mayor of Austin say they are looking into the safety and regulation of dams after an American-Statesman investigation that revealed shortcomings. “We will revisit the issue dealing with dam infrastructure and make sure we’re not putting people at risk,” said state Rep. Lyle Larson, chairman of...
PolitiFact: Cost estimates of ending worker program vary widely
PolitiFact: Cost estimates of ending worker program vary widely

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, claimed the U.S. economy would be negatively impacted if the Trump administration eliminated an immigration protection mostly benefiting Central Americans. The U.S. government routinely reviews whether to extend or terminate a country’s Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, designation, applied to countries...
More Stories