(Austin, TX) // Today, Austin Tech Alliance delivered a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott, Speaker Joe Straus, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on behalf of 433 members of Austin’s tech sector expressing their opposition to proposed bathroom bills, legislation to restrict where transgender Texans can use the bathroom and weaken existing non-discrimination protections in Austin and other cities across Texas. The signed letter may be viewed here (pdf).
“I’m incredibly encouraged by the strong response from members of Austin’s tech sector who are making their voice heard against discriminatory legislation,” said ATA executive director David Edmonson. “We’ve heard a consistent message from Austin’s tech community: the so-called bathroom bills will only make it more difficult to recruit the best and brightest talent. We urge the Legislature and Governor to focus on real issues facing the state and keep Texas open for business.”
The Texas Legislature begins a 30-day special session today, which is limited to topics that the governor specifically outlines. Last week, Governor Abbott formally listed 20 items that he wants the legislature to consider, including the so-called bathroom bills.
If the media is interested in speaking with members of Austin’s tech sector who signed the letter, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The tech community letter to state leaders reads as follows:
Dear Governor Abbott, Speaker Straus, Lt. Governor Patrick, and Members of the Texas Legislature:
We write to you as employees, executives, and entrepreneurs in Austin’s thriving technology sector. We’re proud that our industry is a source of innovation, growth, and economic stability for our state. But we are deeply concerned about the continued push for discriminatory bathroom bills in the Texas Legislature and urge you to oppose such legislation in the upcoming special session.
In the tech sector, this legislation will make it more difficult for us to attract the very best talent to Texas, and that, in turn, will impact our ability to innovate and succeed. A recent Harvard Business Review study looked at the flow of workers into and out of states that pass non-discrimination protections for LGBT employees. The inventors who move into states after they adopt non-discrimination protections file 30 percent more patents than the inventors who move away – clear evidence that a state’s reputation for diversity and inclusion is essential to the ability to attract the talent that drives innovation and growth.
We know there will likely be a variety of bills filed this summer that will focus on bathrooms, locker rooms, and the idea of “privacy,” but we also know from law enforcement officials that laws policing, restricting, and segregating LGBT kids and adults have no basis in the realities of public safety. Instead, the effect of these bills and the inflammatory rhetoric surrounding them is to further marginalize folks who are no danger to their fellow Texans but are disproportionately targets of violence and harassment.
We strongly urge you to focus on the real and pressing needs of the state and give us the freedom and ability to thrive and contribute to the Texas economy. Please oppose the bathroom bills this special session.
Austin Tech Alliance is a nonpartisan, member-based 501(c)(6) nonprofit founded to promote civic engagement in Austin’s tech sector by educating the tech grassroots on policies that impact them, advocating for tech-forward solutions to community challenges, and activating the tech sector to speak up, participate, and vote.