Tuesday, November 15, 2016

HB 258: Boycott North Carolina and Arkansas

Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) is one of my favorite people. His office is consistently one of the strongest and most vocal advocates for equality in the Texas Capitol and he's further proved his commitment by filing HB 258 which would prohibit the State of Texas from doing business with companies based in states that have passed legislation overriding local non-discrimination ordinances or legislation that allows or requires discrimination against same-sex married couples.

By my count three states have passed laws that fit that description:
  • Arkansas 90R SB 202 - which attempted to override local non-discrimination ordinances but is now tied up in court.
  • Tennessee 107R SB 632 - which overrode local non-discrimination ordinances and defined gender in all laws as being the gender on a birth certificate.
  • North Carolina 2016(2) HB2 - which overrode local non-discrimination ordinances and required the use of restrooms based on Gender assigned at birth.
HB 258 only applies to state's where the law in question went into effect after June 26th, 2016 (the date of the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergerfell). So Tennessee would not be included because their bill went into effect in 2011, but Arkansas (whose bill went into effect on July 22, 2015) and North Carolina (March 23, 2016) would.

Ironically, on the same day Anchia filed his bill Sen. Hall filed his own versions of North Carolina's legislation. In the unlikely event both were to pass the State of Texas would be prohibited from doing business with itself.

It's been estimated that North Carolina's bill has cost the state more than "1750 jobs and more than $77 million of investments and visitor spending." Gov. Pat McCrory's defeat in his re-election bid last week has largely been credited to voter dissatisfaction with his defense of the bill.

HB 258 will likely be referred to the House Committee on State Affairs, along with most of the other LGBT-related bills (pro and con). I would be surprised if it received a hearing, but by merely filing the bill Anchia has contributed to the conversation about the negative fiscal impact of discriminatory laws.

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