“I say we put daughters before dollars.” These were the words Texas Sen. Lois Kolkhorst used this year when she discussed her Texas Privacy Act legislation to stop local government and school districts from having policies that allow men and boys into girls bathrooms, showers and locker rooms.
House Speaker Joe Straus and House State Affairs Chairman Byron Cook disagreed with Sen. Kolkhorst’s common sense request and killed the Texas Privacy Act, never allowing the chamber to have a hearing during the special legislative session this year. In fact, Rep. Cook refused to even meet with pastors and other supporters on this issue. Instead his office locked the office door and literally shut the people out. (See video evidence here.)
And now Straus and Cook want to form a “committee” and possibly have a hearing on this issue? Nonsense. This is “fake news” of the highest order. Thankfully, there should be no reason that we have to put dollars over our daughters’ safety and dignity.
Texas economy is doing so well – No. 1 for business 13 years in a row – that we don’t have to sacrifice any of our values in order to draw in businesses or stimulate job growth. That’s after two years of the bathroom privacy issue dominating media attention, voters and parents saying no to men in girls bathrooms and this now becoming an election discussion (see below).
Still, Straus, Cook and some corporate CEOs would choose dollars even if there was even a possibility of such a “choice.” Why? Because Straus and Cook are desperate. Think very desperate. How many county GOP groups have passed resolutions now against Straus? I lost count, I think it was over 50 last time I checked.
Straus and Cook know they have taken positions in direct opposition to the Republican platform and particularly Cook knows that his constituents are hearing more from his challenger, Thomas McNutt, who was within few hundred votes for beating Cook last time, and will likely win this time around. Straus and Cook also know that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott have approximately five times more money in their campaign accounts than Straus and Cook (Gov. Abbott has over $40 million in his re-election campaign, and Lt. Gov. Patrick recently reported around $14 million). Gov. Abbott seemed to make it clear that he was going to pick sides in the Texas Republican primary. So Straus and Cook are betting on the unprincipled money, free liberal media airtime and also deep pockets from out-of-state LGBT advocates and sham “business” groups that are eager to support them.
Rest assured, Texas has the reputation of being a bastion of not only taxpayer-friendly policies but also of religious liberty and family values. A steady flow of businesses moving in from other states is all the proof our state leaders need standing strong for our values is good for business.
But for Straus and Cook, usual campaigning for re-election isn’t enough. Straus and his allies are using their positions of power to again put dollars over our daughters by creating this new committee that continues the dangerous trend of local governments and school districts allowing men into little girls’ locker rooms, restrooms, and changing areas (such as the San Antonio ISD’s new policy, which was implemented immediately after the special legislative session ended in August).
Let’s take a closer look at the situation itself. On the surface, the name of Straus’s newly created interim study committee, the so-called House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness, makes it seem like another step along that well-trodden path of recruiting large businesses and industries to set up shop in Texas. A quick look at the Speaker’s press release on Oct. 12 shows that this 60-day temporary committee is, instead, an attempt cower to radical LGBT interests that have lately been using certain business lobby groups as a mouthpiece.
This begs two other questions: who is responsible for killing major tax reform bills last session? And who prevented a committee from deliberating on privacy in the special legislative session? The answer to both is Straus and Cook (whom Straus tapped to head this so-called economic competitiveness committee).
Although a majority of Texans support a law to protect privacy, and despite having a majority of House members in favor of last session’s privacy bill, this interim committee has no supporters of the House Privacy Act on its membership list.
Straus’s committee has until Dec. 12 to present a report – which you can expect won’t be anymore accurate than the “Mostly False” reports issued by the Texas Association of Business (TAB). This misinformation campaign came about after TAB received an infusion of cash from radical LGBT lobby groups.
In order to justify the House leadership’s obstruction of the Texas Privacy Act, TAB, along with the LGBT lobby, suspiciously rolled out a list of CEOs of major corporations in opposition to the bill. It was soon discovered by one of our national partners that many of the CEOs listed hypocritically did not abide by their own advice to the Texas Legislature but maintained the practice of keeping genders separate in showers, restrooms, and changing areas in their own corporate facilities.
TAB’s “research” and the CEO statements failed to note that Texas has continued to prosper with several religious freedom protection laws on the books. Earlier this year in Houston, the only jurisdiction in Texas which held a vote on the issue of privacy (the voters decided nearly 3-to-1 to keep men out of women’s restrooms by rejecting the mayor’s “bathroom ordinance” in 2015), a record-breaking Super Bowl was hosted. It is also worth noting that San Antonio played host to the NCAA Final Four tournament. And Texas will be home to the largest chemical processing plant of its kind as LyondellBasell is building a $2.4 billion facility near the Houston ship channel.
But do you hear anyone in the “media” talking about this major Lyondell expansion and investment? Of course not. Because they only care about the economy if it helps their own politics. There is very little true “reporting” going anymore, it mostly advocacy articles with an agenda. I grew up in Southeast Houston near where this plant will be built and I can guarantee you people are talking about it in this area and in the industry. I had several family friends who put food on the table and kids through college because real Texas companies like Lyondell – not the here-today-and-gone-tomorrow-if-we-don’t-like-your-Texas-values companies like Amazon. (Thankfully even some liberal city council members in San Antonio and Austin are actually saying “no” to the mindless bidding war and corporate welfare that is being demanded by Amazon for the HQ 2 proposal.)
The anti-privacy LGBT/business coalition also failed to mention that if the privacy issue in schools and state-owned buildings is not solved then costly battles would be fought from district-to-district, such as the case with San Antonio ISD un-vetted bathroom use policy similar to policies passed without community input in Dripping Springs ISD, Fort Worth ISD, and Coppell ISD.
Speaking of economic competitiveness: Is there any other way to discourage business development than by opening the door to an endless barrage of lawsuits that will surely result from misguided sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) policies? If a public hearing is allowed by this committee then make no mistake: We’ll be there to set the record straight that Texas does not need to sacrifice common sense in order to build the economy. Texas is already No. 1, and we’re not slowing down.
But the most important “public hearing” will be at the upcoming ballot box, particularly in the March 2018 Republican primary.
We can protect daughters and dollars in Texas. But Joe Straus and Byron Cook do not value dollars or daughters and they are essentially willing to sell Texas influence to the highest bidders. We aren’t buying it, and neither should any other Texan.