After leaving the legislature last year, a former lieutenant of the Texas House leadership is joining a liberal lobby organization in order to fight legislation banning men from women’s restrooms.
In a press release issued today, the Texas Association of Business announced that ex-lawmaker Jim Keffer would be joining the organization as a lobbyist to fight against Senate Bill 6, the Texas Privacy Act.
“Jim will be focusing on a number of areas, include our work against discriminatory legislation,” said TAB President Chris Wallace.
The “discriminatory legislation” referenced in the release is SB 6, also known as the Texas Privacy Act, which would restrict bathrooms to biological sex in government buildings, schools, and universities across the state. It would also pre-empt local ordinances that dictate what policies private businesses must have, allowing individual businesses to choose their own policies free from local government interference. The measure passed the Texas Senate earlier this month but faces a major uphill battle in the Texas House where much of leadership is opposed.
Though the legislation has been hailed as a commonsense and necessary reform by conservative organizations nationwide and championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, TAB has aggressively fought against its passage.
Their argument, in short, is that if Texas refuses to allow 8th-grade boys to shower with 8th-grade girls in public schools, businesses will leave the state and Texas will suffer economic disaster. That argument was so absurd even left-leaning Politifact rated it as “False.”
As a member of House Speaker Joe Straus’ leadership team, Keffer had been a major thorn in the side of conservatives. During that time he was also an enemy of free enterprise: proposing a “wage tax” on Texans, supporting the disastrous and onerous franchise tax, and being one of the Legislature’s biggest advocates for corporate welfare.
Afraid of putting his liberal policy record before voters, Keffer “retired” and declined to run for re-election. Though Keffer tried to pass the baton to his handpicked, liberal successor, conservatives intervened and instead chose State Rep. Mike Lang (R–Granbury). Since taking office two months ago, a large share of Lang’s time has been spent cleaning up the messes Keffer created.
Last fall, Keffer “came out” as a liberal, and joined a left-wing think tank that favors in-state tuition for illegal immigrants and imposing an income tax on all Texans.
Conservative activists across the state should view Keffer’s sad, desperate return to the Texas Capitol as a sure sign that they are winning. It’s because of them that Keffer has been forced to unmask himself and work for the lobby – rather than pretend to be a conservative in the Texas Legislature.