Impact of bathroom bill on Texas economy and tourism

Convention and visitors bureaus from across the state met on the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday. 

They kicked off a new campaign called "Texas Welcomes All."

They're giving us a warning, of what would happen if discriminatory legislation were to pass in Texas.

"I don't want to see 185,000 of my fellow Texans out of work. I don't want to see our state lose $8.5 billion," said Tom Noonan, CEO of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureaus.

A coalition of Texas Convention and Visitors Bureaus tells us we could also expect cancellations from major performing artists and sporting events.

They say this information is based on other states, including North Carolina, that have already passed a bathroom bill. 

The list goes on.

"Associations make decisions on where to hold their major conventions and meetings every day, such laws would prohibit them from having them in Texas. We need open doors and access for all," said Susan Robertson, executive vice president of the American Society of Association Executives.

Nearly 1,200 Texas employers, 21 Texas Chambers of Commerce and most major airlines and hotels are also united in saying there is a significant economic risk in Texas being hostile to the LGBT community.
One person visiting our State Capitol weighed in.

"If I had a meeting that was being hosted here and the bill passed, I would cancel it because I would want to come to a city that is tolerant of everyone," said tourist Rebecca Murphy.

But, there are still many that say the bathroom bill should be passed.

Texas Values is a big proponent.

"What's sad is they're coming out and saying that we're okay with men being in the same bathroom and private areas with young girls. That's something that we're not going to stand for," said Nicole Hudgens, policy analyst, Texas Values.

Hudgens brought up the bathroom bill in Houston that was ultimately rejected by voters.

"We see the Super Bowl is there and is being worked on right now, you know, a couple of years after it was voted on. So that right there should show that Texans are supportive of policies that protect privacy, safety and dignity," said Hudgens.

The legislative session just started, so the fight is far from over.

"It really hurts the brand of Texas. It creates the perception that we don't welcome people from all walks of life, all backgrounds and that we're not an open, inclusive society. That's not who we are as Texans. That's not the message we want to deliver," said Phillip Jones, CEO of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureaus.
Looking at North Carolina, this past year Forbes ranked them second in the country for business.    
Those against a bathroom bill say that ranking would not hold in the coming years.

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