Pictured above from left to right: Liza Barratachea, San Antonio Chamber President Richard Perez, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Casandra Matej, and Andi Rodriguez
Along with more than 250 individuals, business leaders, and tourism advocates, your San Antonio Chamber President & CEO Richard Perez testified last week against two proposed Senate bills attempting to regulate bathroom usage. Senate Bills 3 and 91, authored by Senator Lois Kolkhorst, propose to limit use of any “multiple-occupancy restroom, shower, and changing facility of a political subdivision, including a public school district, or an open-enrollment charter school” based on a person’s gender as identified on their birth certificate. The Chamber stands with our County Judge, Mayor, Chief of Police, law enforcement officials, school superintendents, and a growing list of CEOs from across the nation, and we believe that these bills are a “solution” looking for a problem.
In collaboration with other partners like the Texas Association of Business, the Metro 8 Chambers of Commerce, Visit San Antonio, Bexar County, and the City of San Antonio, your Chamber is working diligently to continue to advocate for an open environment for business and talent development.
Below is the text of the testimony provided by Perez during last Friday’s Senate State Affairs committee hearing:
My name is Richard Perez and I am the president & CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
I am here representing 2,100 different businesses in San Antonio who together employ 500,000 people in San Antonio and the surrounding region, our 15 school districts who educate 327,000 children in San Antonio and Bexar County, as well as the Metro 8, the 8 largest cities in Texas, who represent:
- 20,000 Texas Companies
- 4 million residents
- $1.2 Trillion in GDP
The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors adopted, as part of our 2017 State Legislative Agenda, a statement that reads, in part:
“The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce opposes any law, statue, ordinance or rule that weakens our community’s private or public sector’s ability to attract talent and private investment or in any way limits San Antonio’s identity as a welcoming destination to visit, live and work. Policies that discriminate against individuals or groups are not in keeping with the long history of inclusion that has been San Antonio’s promise and hampers Texas’ ability to compete in the global marketplace”.
Additionally, The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce stands united with our 15 independent school districts in opposing any bathroom legislation designed to limit their ability to work with students and their families on any privacy & safety issues
For years, our school districts have worked with and accommodated students and their families with any number of safety, privacy and protection issues without incident and it is our belief that they can continue to do so without the additional regulation proposed by SB3 or SB91
Texas has historically been seen as a welcoming state and it is our sincere belief that passage of SB3 an SB91, send our State and City running in the opposite direction thereby undoing our collective efforts to be a destination for all.
Therefore, on behalf on the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, our 15 Independent school districts and the Metro 8 Chambers of Commerce, we urge this body to reject SB 3 and SB 91. Thank you.
In addition, the Chamber and 15 school districts submitted this letter to the Speaker of the House and the Bexar County delegation communicating their opposition to legislation that seeks to regulate bathroom usage in public spaces and public schools.