Patrick defends “bathroom bill,” claims it has no economic impact

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Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick attacked claims that the “bathroom bill” would have a negative impact on Texas’ economy during a press conference Monday.

In December, the Texas Association of Business released a report that said if the Texas Legislature passes Senate Bill 6, also known as the “bathroom bill,” Texas could face $964 million to $8.5 billion in GDP loss and up to 185,000 lost jobs.

“That’s data that we’ve known was faulty,” Patrick said during the press conference. “Fearmongering is what that report was about. There is no evidence whatsoever that the passage of Senate Bill 6 will have any economic impact on Texas.” 

PolitiFact Texas, a nonpartisan fact-checking agency backed by the Austin American-Statesman, Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News, declared the report to be “mostly false,” because the figures of GDP and job loss were based on weak evidence from 2015.

The Texas Association of Business responded to PolitiFact by saying they are the most influential and dominant voice for public policy issues affecting business in Texas.  

“The Texas Association of Business will continue its efforts to protect Texas businesses and families from any potential economic harm that follows when a state adopts discriminatory legislation,” TAB said in a statement.

Patrick also said no businesses have moved from Houston after voters rejected Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, a non-discriminatory policy which would have allowed people to use the bathroom according to the gender they identify with. 

“I don’t know of any business that hasn’t moved to Houston because the voters stood up for the issues involved in SB 6,” Patrick said. “We’ve had basketball tournaments. We’ve had the greatest Super Bowl ever. No economic impact.” 

Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, who authored SB 6, spoke Monday saying the bill has support across party lines. 

Both Kolkhorst and Partick stressed the intent of the bill was not discriminatory but rather concerned public safety and privacy.