Global investors warn Texas to withdraw transgender restroom legislation

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By Jon Herskovitz

<span class="articleLocation”>A group of global investors with $11 trillion in
managed assets told Texas on Tuesday not to enact legislation
restricting access to bathrooms for transgender people, saying
it is discriminatory and bad for business.

The “Texas Privacy Act,” or Senate Bill 6, has been marked
as a priority for Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, a Republican
and conservative Christian who guides the legislative agenda in
the Republican-controlled state Senate. He said the measure
protected the privacy and safety of Texans.

The bill on a flashpoint issue in the United States is
similar to a law enacted last year in North Carolina that led to
economic boycotts and the loss of major sporting events, costing
the state an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars in

“The bathroom bill was bad for North Carolina and it will be
very bad for Texas,” New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, a
Democrat, told a teleconference, adding it was the first time
investors of this size opposed the legislation.

Lawmakers in Texas and 13 other states have introduced
so-called “bathroom bills,” which supporters say help protect
privacy and safety but opponents argue target an already
marginalized group in U.S. society.

Springer said institutional investors including BlackRock, Alliance Bernstein, T. Rowe Price and state comptrollers and
treasurers from places including New York and California sent a
letter on Tuesday to Patrick and other Texas leaders calling on
them to drop the legislation.

“As professional investors, we know that discrimination is
simply bad for business,” Matthew Patsky, CEO of Trillium Asset
Management, which signed the letter, told the teleconference.

The investors did not give specific actions they would take
if the legislation were enacted.

Patrick’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Patrick has previously said the threats of economic damage
to Texas were overblown. A prominent Texas business group
estimates the measure could cost the state billions of dollars.

A statewide survey by the University of Texas and online
news outlet Texas Tribune this week showed 54 percent of
respondents believe Texans should use public restrooms based on
their birth gender, as outlined in the proposed legislation.

The poll also showed 51 percent of respondents do not see it
is an important for the legislature to pass the bathroom bill.

A National Football League spokesman said this month Texas
lawmakers could hurt the football-loving state’s chances to
attract a future Super Bowl if they enact such a law.

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