May 26, 2017 (Boston, MA) – Lawmakers in Texas are continuing to prioritize discriminatory legislation that could harm the state’s reputation and business climate as the legislature enters its final weekend of session. Earlier this week, the Texas House amended an education bill to include regulations on access to restrooms in public schools. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick rejected that amendment – primarily because he felt it didn’t go far enough in banning transgender people from public restrooms. Patrick has indicated that passing some form of discriminatory, anti-business legislation remains a priority for him over the coming days. We believe that equality is fundamental not just to the workplace, but also within the community and therefore urge Texas legislators to stop the advancement of any bills that deliberately limit the human rights of LGBT people in Texas.
This is the not the first time Texas lawmakers have attempted to pass discriminatory legislation. Earlier this year Trillium and the New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer led a group of some of the largest investors in the world, with a combined $11 trillion of assets under management, to speak out against Texas Senate Bill 6 (SB6), “Bathroom Bill,” as well as similar discriminatory legislation. In the wake of hundreds of millions of dollars in lost economic activity in North Carolina after HB2 – a similar bill – was signed into law, major investors stood up against the discriminatory legislation.
In the $11 trillion letter regarding SB6, investors urged Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Joe Straus to oppose the legislation, which would discriminate against transgender individuals in Texas. Following the letter, Trillium and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer authored an op-ed featured on CNN discussing the business case against SB6 and the key role investors play in supporting equality.
Anti-LGBT legislation not only makes it more difficult for companies to attract and retain the best talent, but could have real effects on the Texas economy by undermining businesses operating there, and delivering extraordinary reputational harm to the Texas business environment. Look no further than the 1,200 firms doing business in Texas that have joined Texas Competes – a business partnership committed to promoting a competitive, inclusive, and economically vibrant Texas.
The evidence is overwhelming that inclusive corporate and public policy that embraces diversity and equality are essential to strong businesses and financial success. Trillium Asset Management, unequivocally and emphatically urges Texas legislators to maintain a healthy and vibrant climate for business in the State of Texas and reject this amendment to Texas House Bill 2078.
Important Disclosure: The views expressed are those of the authors and Trillium Asset Management, LLC as of the date referenced and are subject to change at any time based on market or other conditions. These views are not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results. These views may not be relied upon as investment advice. The information provided in this material should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any of the securities mentioned. It should not be assumed that investments in such securities have been or will be profitable. To the extent specific securities are mentioned, they have been selected by the authors on an objective basis to illustrate views expressed in the commentary and do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold or recommended for advisory clients. The information contained herein has been prepared from sources believed reliable but is not guaranteed by us as to its timeliness or accuracy, and is not a complete summary or statement of all available data. This piece is for informational purposes and should not be construed as a research report.
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