House Speaker Straus Says ‘Bathroom Bill’ Would Be Bad for Texas Business

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJanuary 19, 2017 1:15 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) says proposed legislation that would bar transgender people from using the public restroom of their choice would be bad for business.

Straus spoke to the Texas Association of Business Wednesday.

“I think we should be very careful about doing something that could make Texas less competitive for investments, jobs and the highly skilled workforce needed to compete,” he said. “That’s my personal view on this and it’s the sentiment back home. We’ll see how the rest of the house feels and the governor’s opinion on this can make a big difference, too.”

The Texas Association of Business opposes the so-called Bathroom Bill – which officially is Senate Bill 6.

In fact – it estimates the state could lose out on as many as 185,000 jobs and as much as $8.5 billion a year.

Straus’s counterpart in the Senate, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, is a big supporter of the bill despite business concerns. The measure wouldn’t just ban transgender people from using the public restrooms that match their gender identities, it would also prevent local governments from passing ordinances that allow transgender Texans to use the bathroom of their choice.

If you’re a Houston Texans or Dallas Cowboys fan, this next topic might be painful: the Super Bowl. But if you’ve done enough emotional healing to still consider going to the game or any of the festivities around it, Houston officials say it’s time to start mapping your route.

Houston Public Media’s Gail Delaughter tells us what fans are being asked to do.

“It’s not game-day parking officials are worried about,” she says. “It’s the big events in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. About 100,000 people daily are expected at Discovery Green and the George R. Brown Convention Center.”

Delaughter spoke with Francisco Sanchez, with the Harris County Office of Emergency Management.

“If you’re one of the people who thinks you know all the secret parking spots and you have a place that is always available, that is not going to be the case for Super Bowl anywhere near downtown Houston,” Sanchez says.

Sanchez says the best thing to do if you’re headed downtown is to use public transit. But if you do bring a car, plan to park on the west side.

“We’re going to provide plenty of parking just outside of downtown Houston and then you’ll be able to get to the events either by shuttle or by walking,” Sanchez says.

Delaughter says fans also have the option of pre-purchasing a downtown parking space. The cost runs between $5 and $30 dollars.

Super Bowl 51 is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 5.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wanted to hit the outgoing Obama administration with just one more lawsuit before President Obama leaves office Thursday at midnight.

Tuesday, Ken Paxton and 13 other states sued the federal government to block a rule that limits coal mining near waterways.

But just one lawsuit in the final week of Obama’s tenure wouldn’t do. On Wednesday, Paxton took legal action against the feds over another environmental regulation.

This time around, he wants a federal court in Washington, D.C. to take a look at a rule that forces Texas to craft a plan on how to reduce air pollution in its national parks and other natural areas.

The Texas Tribune reports that since Obama became president Texas has sued his administration about 50 times.