For a year, North Carolina promoted its HB2 “bathroom bill” as a victory for religious conservatives and the state as a whole. One year later, and the state has now removed the legislation after North Carolina saw $4 billion in economic loss. The moral of the story seemed to be, that governments should allow private corporations to determine their own gender policies while protecting basic human rights, but Texas does not agree.
Texas has always been a unique state in the Union. The slogan “Don’t mess with Texas” is a popular one in the state and is generally a unified message between the large territory and the federal government. Texas does what it wants, when it wants, and has been able to benefit from location as it sits on some of the most profitable natural resources in the nation. While this has been a huge benefit, recent legislation has some native Texans worried about its future.
Texas is considering enacting its own “bathroom bill” and the economic impact is already beginning to show. According to Newsweek “Press coverage of the Texas bill has generated $216 million in bad publicity for the state, according to the [Texas Competes] report. More than 25,000 news articles were published about the legislation in the U.S. during the period studied, with the vast majority of them—20,000—published outside of Texas.” The state has already introduced a few other controversial laws over recent years to add to some people’s anxiety of its future.
The last day that the “bathroom bill” could be passed is May 29th. The bill made headlines after the Texas House “passed an amendment to an unrelated education bill that prohibits transgender students from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identities. Texas legislators who support the amendment say it protects the privacy and safety of students.”
Whether the new law protects anyone remains to be seen, but a “report published last month suggested that Texas could lose $3.3 billion in annual tourism revenues, in addition to 35,600 full-time jobs because of its bathroom bill.” If lawmakers are serious about pushing religious beliefs into government laws, they may have to live with the results of job and economic loss.