A week after police chiefs from Houston, San Antonio and Austin joined in protest against the bill, Abbott said the legislation specifically attempts to avoid adding any added burden on local police.
“There is not a role for law enforcement to play,” Abbott said Monday at the annual Sheriffs’ Association of Texas Training Conference and Expo in Grapevine. “Enforcement of this law is done by the Attorney General.”
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Abbott said because it is a civil action and not a criminal one, police will not be part of the enforcement.
“So what I urge is for everyone to step back, calmly look at what the bill actually says, before they cast some misguided judgment,” Abbott said.
Patrick, another champion of the bathroom bill, blasted the partnership’s letter.
“The Partnership is out of touch with the majority of Houstonians who voted overwhelmingly in 2015 to reject the same kind of ordinance that Senate Bill 3 will prohibit. They warned of economic doom at the time, but there has been no negative impact on the City’s economy. In their rush to be politically correct this business group is ignoring the fact that companies continue to expand and new ones are moving to Houston. The people of Texas are right about this issue and they are wrong,” Patrick said in a statement.
Look at the language Patrick is using to describe business leaders whose companies employ hundreds of thousands of people in Texas. “Out of touch”. “Politically correct”. Patrick has been treating the business community with contempt and hostility since the beginning of this manufactured fight. He will never back down – if SB3 doesn’t pass and Abbott doesn’t grant his wish to have yet another special session, he’ll work to get more legislators like him elected and he’ll be back in 2019. The fight business leaders are putting up now is great, but unless they’re ready and willing to keep fighting, next March and next November, it will mean nothing. Actually, that’s not true. It will mean Dan Patrick will be totally vindicated in his belief that he cannot and will not be stopped by anyone, that there are no checks or limits on his power and his agenda. He’s going to keep doing damage until enough people stand up to him. There’s never been a better time for that.
I keep coming back to this because I keep seeing stories like the recent one about the NFL Draft in which it is implied or outright stated that business organizations may or will lack options if the bathroom bill passes. Which is ludicrous, of course, since their first and foremost option is to stop supporting politicians who oppose them on this very fundamental principle. Turn off the campaign contributions, for a start. Even if it’s too scary to back an opponent, everyone can do that much.
And again, remember that a win on this issue in the special session is not a final victory. Dan Patrick will be back, and it’s up to all of us whether he’s stronger than before or not. The good news is that it’s beginning to look like maybe he will lose this time around.
[House Speaker Joe Straus] may not even refer SB 3 to a committee, leaving it to die untouched by House members.
In addition, the author of two House bills to limit transgender bathroom policies acknowledged Monday that his legislation is at risk.
Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, said he was promised a public hearing — but nothing more — on his bills by the chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana.
“Chairman Cook said he going to give us a hearing. At the same time, he said he’s not going to move the legislation,” Simmons said during a downtown Austin event sponsored by the Texas Tribune.
“I think the prospects are not great, not because the (Republican) majority doesn’t want it … but because there are some key leaders who do not want it. That’s the way the system works,” he said.
Simmons predicted that his bills would pass if given a vote by the full House, and Abbott has been pressing House leaders to allow a floor vote.
Abbott also urged conservative Republicans last week to add their names as co-authors to Simmons’ bills as well as to other legislation pertaining to his special session agenda.
By Monday evening, 49 House Republicans had attached their names to House Bill 46, Simmons’ main piece of legislation. A somewhat similar bill had 80 co-authors — 76 votes ensures passage in the House — in the regular session that ended in May.
The special session bills take different approaches.
Here are those House bathroom bill sponsors again, which should be read as a starter’s kit of legislators who need to be voted out. Some of those legislators are in swing districts. Some will need to be taken out in a primary. Opposition to the bathroom bill is broad and diverse. Support for it is narrow and zealous. It’s time to change the culture. We can win, but we can’t let up. The Chron has more.