Seven members of the Texas House of Representatives announced plans to sponsor a comprehensive LGBTQ nondiscrimination bill. The bill was announced in a Zoom press conference on Wednesday.
Among the sponsors are two Republicans — Rep. Sarah Davis, who represents the Westheimer section of Houston and Rep. Todd Hunter of Corpus Christi. Davis regularly receives the highest score among Republicans from Equality Texas. She’s opposed in the November election by Ann Johnson, who is lesbian. Hunter received a B-minus on the scorecard and is opposed in the upcoming election by Eric Holguin, who is gay.
Of the Democrats sponsoring the bill, Rep. Jessica Gonzalez from Dallas, who is a founder of the Texas House LGBT Caucus.
Other sponsors are Rep. Rafael Anchia, Dallas and Rep Chris Turner, Grand Prairie. They are joined by two representatives from Houston — Garnet Coleman and Senfronia Thompson, who are both longtime allies.
According to Texas economist Ray Perryman, “If we want to escalate our competitive advantage into the future, our research shows significant benefits from enactment of a comprehensive nondiscrimination law that includes all people, including LGBTQ people.”
His study shows that passing comprehensive nondiscrimination bill would result in an additional $20 billion in gross product in the state and create 180,000 new jobs. In addition, the state would receive an additional $2,8 billion in taxes and local governments would benefit from $2 billion in taxes.
Jessica Shortall, director of Texas Competes, said 70 percent of Texas, including majorities from both parties and from all major religious groups, support nondiscrimination.
The bill would cover nondiscrimination in employment, housing and accommodations. The announcement was made online in a Zoom press conference that included Gonzalez, Anchia, Shortall, Perryman and Equality Texas CEO Ricardo Martinez.
— David Taffet