DAVID GREENE, HOST:
The state of Texas may soon adopt a bathroom bill very much like the one in North Carolina that stirred up a lot of controversy. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has vowed to pass a bill requiring transgender people to use the restroom that corresponds to the sex on their birth certificate.
This proposal is threatening to split the Texas GOP and also drive a bigger wedge between the state's business interests and Lone Star evangelicals, as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports from Dallas.
WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: It's been no secret in Texas that since it passed last March, North Carolina's bathroom bill was intensely admired by the evangelical wing of the Texas GOP which includes many of the state's most powerful politicians, including Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. So Texas watched with particular interest as the Tar Heel State came politically unglued over the summer as PayPal and Deutsche Bank canceled planned expansions in North Carolina, the NBA and NCAA moved all-star and tournament games out of the state and entertainers in Hollywood turned up their noses.
Forbes estimated that the backlash cost North Carolina more than $600 million in the first six months after the bathroom bill was signed by Governor Pat McCrory, who was then promptly beaten on November 8. But that hasn't fazed Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. In fact, just before Christmas when the North Carolina legislature failed in its attempt to pass legislation which would have essentially nullified its bathroom bill, Patrick sent a note applauding the collapse of the effort.
But Texas's business community says it will do everything in its power to stop Texas from passing a bathroom bill. The Texas Association of Business estimates the backlash could cost the state up to $8 billion in economic impact. Chris Wallace is the association's president.
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CHRIS WALLACE: The message from the Texas business community is loud and clear. Protecting Texas from billions of dollars in losses is simple. Don't pass unnecessary laws that discriminate against Texans and our visitors.
GOODWYN: The Texas legislature convenes in Austin in eight days.
Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas
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