Report: Texas Lt. Gov. Has Not Sought Counsel from Law Enforcement on Anti-LGBT BillBy Adam Polaski • February 3, 2017 • 3:41 pm
In Texas this week, two of the state’s top law enforcement organizations rejected Senate Bill 6, the terrible anti-LGBT law modeled off of North Carolina’s HB2, which restricts restroom access for transgender people and knocks down local non-discrimination ordinances protecting LGBT people.
The law enforcement organizations told the Dallas Morning News that the anti-transgender legislation was unnecessary and entirely unrelated to public safety. The two organizations – the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) and the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) – together represent more than 45,000 officers across the state.
Their unequivocal rejection of SB 6 stands in contrast to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who has insisted the anti-transgender bill is necessary for public safety. SB 6 would ban transgender people from using restrooms in public schools, universities and government offices; and it would eradicate the freedom of local municipalities to set their own nondiscrimination policies related to restroom access.
In fact, the office of the lieutenant governor said this week that he has not reached out to any law enforcement groups for input on the legislation, despite claiming again and again that his concern lies with public safety in Texas.
CLEAT’s executive director said today that the discriminatory legislation was a solution in search of a problem, saying, “Texas has been governing illegal bathroom behavior for a while now. I’m not sure what the problem is that we’re trying to address.”
Matt McTighe condemned the Lieutenant Governor for his attempts to use his supposed concerns about public safety in order to push a discriminatory bill:
“It’s more than a little telling that Dan Patrick hasn’t spoken with law enforcement groups about a bill he claims is focused on public safety. The lieutenant governor hasn’t spoken with law enforcement about SB 6 for the same reason that he regularly disregards the business community’s opposition to the legislation. Voices that disagree with Dan Patrick’s zeal for discrimination – whether it’s the business community, leading law enforcement organizations, or others – are simply denied a seat at his table.”
Patrick’s lack of contact with law enforcement is noteworthy given his frequent refrain that SB 6 is about public safety. Just a few weeks ago, the lieutenant governor noted: “…If laws are passed by cities and counties and school districts that allow men to go into a bathroom because of the way they feel, we will not be able to stop sexual predators from taking advantage of that law…”
Texas’ other leading lawmakers – Governor Greg Abbott and House Speaker Joe Straus – don’t share his zeal for SB 6. In his State of the State address earlier this week, Abbott did not once mention SB 6 when discussing his legislative priorities – not the first time the governor has tacitly hinted that he’d prefer to move on from the issue. And last month, Straus warned SB 6 could hurt Texas’ economy. Straus told some of the state’s top business leaders: “There’s been a lot of work put into our state’s economic success…. we want Texas to keep attracting the best and the brightest. One way to maintain our edge is to send the right signals about who we are.”