Texas CVBs Battle Proposed Bathroom Law SB 6

By Matt Swenson, February 6, 2017

Visit Dallas President and CEO Phillip Jones lets the numbers do the talking when campaigning against Senate Bill 6 (SB 6), a proposed bathroom law in Texas. The legislation would require transgender people to use restrooms based on their gender at birth rather than how they identify themselves.

The bill is similar to House Bill 2, North Carolina’s controversial measure adopted in 2016 that outraged the LGBT community. Amid the backlash in North Carolina, the NBA moved its All-Star Game and the NCAA and ACC relocated college championships; Southern Sociological Society canceled its 2019 meeting in Charlotte; and APTrust’s spring 2016 meeting moved from Raleigh to Baltimore. Estimates put the state’s losses from HB2 around $630 million.

Fearing worse damage in Texas, Jones has set up shop in Austin since the legislative session started there in January. While Austin is “the second-best city in Texas,” jokes Jones, he is eager to return home to Dallas, hoping to have defeated what he describes as a “very, very, very bad bill.” On Feb. 16, Jones plans to lead a group of hospitality, tourism and travel officials on the Capitol. He talked to Connect about making the business case against SB 6.

What have your lobbying efforts been like?

I’ve been meeting with individual legislators for the past month. I’m up to 71. I feel like we’re making headway in the House. The Senate is probably a lost cause because the lieutenant governor [Dan Patrick] has made [passing SB 6] a priority. We’re trying to educate them on the potential damage. The Democrat caucus has already said it is opposed to the legislation.

Who else is fighting the bill?

We’ve put together a coalition of all the major CVBs in Texas, including Fort Worth, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and Austin, along with the Texas Association of CVBs. We launched a website, Texas Welcomes All, focused on getting our message out about Texas being a welcoming and diverse destination that wants people from all backgrounds and walks of life to come visit, and feel welcome and secure while doing so.

(Visited 34 times, 1 visits today)

Connect is looking to honor 15 event professionals over the age of 50 who have spent their career moving the meetings industry forward.

From table settings to signage and cocktail drinks, here's how Pantone's vivacious 2019 Color of the Year, Living Coral, can be incorporated into the details

Why is a meetings management policy not being readily adopted? Ben Hoeksma & Laura Konwinski tackle the issue here.

JoAnn Taie and Janel Fick were unlikely business partners who have brought growth to Global Management Partners since they bought the company.

Learn approaches and technologies that can be deployed to help meet business, brand, sales and marketing objectives for your events.

The Latest