80+ Businesses Urge Texas Lawmakers: Reject Discriminatory Legislation

More than 80 businesses have signed a letter urging Texas lawmakers to oppose SB3, HB46 or any other proposed discriminatory legislation that may threaten Texas’ economic growth. These businesses know that in order to compete in the global economy—and attract the top talent we need to keep our economy thriving—we must keep Texas open for everyone:

“As leaders in the Texas business community, we have an obligation to our employees, customers, shareholders and the Texas communities we serve to oppose discriminatory legislation that jeopardizes the positive environment for our Texas business operations.”

"Celanese’s opposition reflects the indisputable fact that it will undermine Texas’ ability to create the kind of exemplary, diverse and accomplished work force that is essential to Texas’ economic success. The fact that it does so without any data showing that it addresses a legitimate law enforcement issue compounds its many flaws." Mark Rohr, CEO of Celanese
"To recruit, hire, and retain top employees, Texas companies must stand against discriminatory bills. Our legislature should focus on building our state’s talent pipeline, increasing our number of skilled workers, and improving our education system to continue the long-term growth of our strong Texas economy." Silicon Labs Chief People Officer Lori Knowlton
"I think that discriminatory legislation sets Texas back 50-plus years in the eyes of the world, and I am constantly reminded by my business partners in the US and Asia that they are all cognizant of this regressive push. It will be the end of Texas leadership as a great place to do business." TEKVOX CEO James Reinhart

Open Letter from Corporate Leaders with Operations in Texas

Dear Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick, Speaker Straus and Texas Lawmakers:

Texas is well known as a warm and welcoming state, one that spurs job creation, encourages investments and attracts families to our great state in large numbers every day. You – along with former Gov. Rick Perry, Speaker Straus and other state leaders – have played a critical role in creating and sustaining a business, tax, regulatory and social climate that’s the envy of other states.

However, our business-friendly reputation and our larger economy are both at risk if we choose a new path – a path that encourages and legalizes discrimination. We ask you to reject discriminatory bathroom legislation.

As leaders in the Texas business community, we have an obligation to our employees, customers, shareholders and the Texas communities we serve to oppose discriminatory legislation that jeopardizes the positive environment for our Texas business operations.

Respectfully, we are concerned so-called bathroom bills and other discriminatory legislation like it is a solution in search of a problem. We are steadfastly opposed to bathroom bills and any legislation that would use religious beliefs to discriminate. Concerns over personal privacy and security might best be addressed by strengthening existing penalties without targeting specific groups of people or creating divisive, discriminatory legislation that divides Texans, more than it unites us.

DISCRIMINATORY LEGISLATION THREATENS OUR ECONOMY. By passing SB 6 (the so-called “bathroom bill”) and other discriminatory legislation, Texas could lose billions of dollars in GDP, a critical loss of revenue that would profoundly threaten the state’s ability to fund education, transportation and other essential services. And thousands of jobs could be lost, according to the Texas Association of Business’ economic impact study.

DISCRIMINATORY LEGISLATION THREATENS TEXAS’ TRAVEL AND TOURISM INDUSTRY. Texas receives $68.7 billion in travel spending, which generates $6.2 billion in state and local taxes. Over 1 million jobs are supported by travel, 648,000 direct and 488,000 indirect. This vibrant industry, the second largest in our state, would suffer declines like those experienced by other states if Texas loses its reputation as a welcoming destination for all visitors.

DISCRIMINATORY LEGISLATION ALSO CREATES COSTLY OPERATIONAL AND LEGAL HEADACHES. When proposed legislation creates confusion about whom an employee must serve and whom that employee can turn away, it creates operational chaos—and legal expense—for all Texas businesses. We are in business to serve everyone, and to employ talented people from all walks of life. We need Texas to reject that commitment to inclusion.

Additionally, DISCRIMINATORY LEGISLATION NEGATIVELY IMPACTS OUR ABILITY TO RECRUIT TOP TALENT, especially among Millennials, who overwhelmingly support non-discrimination protections and seek to live in states that reject the diversity and inclusion they value. We are in a battle for globally competitive talent, and our ability to successfully recruit and retain our future workforce of Millennial talent is critical to our long-term economic prosperity.

As the state’s former Attorney General, we know that you share all of Texans’ concerns about protecting the security and privacy of all Texans. We stand with you in support of protecting the security and privacy of all Texans, but a bathroom bill is not the answer. Several Texas law enforcement officials have said that non- discrimination ordinances have not reduced public safety. Many have also stated publicly that bathroom bills are unnecessary legislation and would be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce.

That’s why we oppose unnecessary legislation that will hurt our vibrant economy in Texas.

We believe everyone should be treated with dignity and respect, and we are proud of our companies’ track records on creating diverse workforces and inclusive work environments.

Our businesses and our employees represent the great diversity of our state. We stand together with members of the faith community, sexual assault prevention and victim advocates and members of law enforcement and everyday Texans to oppose legislation that would legalize discrimination against any group that would undermine our ability to “Keep Texas Open for Business.”

These Texas Employers Have Signed the Letter: