Busi­ness group ready to ramp up lob­by­ing

As­so­ci­a­tion op­posed bath­room bill, ban on sanc­tu­ary ci­ties

Houston Chronicle - - CITY | STATE - By Mike Ward mike.ward@chron.com

AUSTIN — Af­ter fight­ing with the state’s gov­er­nor and lieu­tenant gov­er­nor over a ban on sanc­tu­ary ci­ties and the bath­room bill, the state’s most pow­er­ful busi­ness lobby group made it clear Tues­day that it in­tends to ramp up its ef­forts to keep other anti-busi­ness leg­is­la­tion from pass­ing in 2018 and be­yond.

Group mem­bers ac­knowl­edge that could put them at log­ger­heads with Texas’ Repub­li­can lead­er­ship again.

“From time to time, we’re go­ing to pub­licly agree with our leg­isla­tive lead­ers, and at times we’re go­ing to dis­agree,” said Jeff Mose­ley, CEO of the Texas As­so­ci­a­tion of Busi­ness. “The busi­ness com­mu­nity in Texas is very mo­ti­vated right now to be in­volved in the po­lit­i­cal process.”

The remarks came as the Texas As­so­ci­a­tion of Busi­ness made pub­lic its rank­ing of law­mak­ers from the two leg­isla­tive ses­sions this year, a list that in years past has out­lined whom busi­ness in­ter­ests will sup­port with cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions for the up­com­ing elec­tion sea­son.

A num­ber of law­mak­ers’ rank­ings dropped be­cause they sup­ported bills that the or­ga­ni­za­tion op­posed, a new turn of events for the Repub­li­can-con­trolled leg­isla­tive cham­bers that usu­ally sup­port a pro-busi­ness agenda across the board.

Only one law­maker got a 100 per­cent rank­ing: state Rep. Os­car Lon­go­ria, a Demo­crat from Mis­sion, in far South Texas.

Ear­lier this year, the busi­ness lobby group op­posed a ban on sanc­tu­ary ci­ties — which passed and was signed into law — and later came out in force against the bath­room bill cham­pi­oned by Gov. Greg Ab­bott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. That bill passed the Se­nate but was blocked in the House.

Mose­ley said the bot­tom line is that his 4,000-mem­ber or­ga­ni­za­tion is fo­cused on cre­at­ing jobs and main­tain­ing a com­pet­i­tive busi­ness cli­mate in Texas, and de­feat­ing “un­nec­es­sary and dis­crim­i­na­tory leg­is­la­tion” that could hurt eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

Mose­ley said that in re­cent months the lobby group has re­ac­ti­vated its po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tees and is rais­ing money to par­tic­i­pate in next year’s pri­maries and gen­eral elec­tion con­tests.

As­so­ci­ated Press file

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s push to bar trans­gen­der in­di­vid­u­als from us­ing pub­lic re­strooms that matches their gen­der iden­tity drew op­po­si­tion from the Texas As­so­ci­a­tion of Busi­ness, which plans to in­crease its lob­by­ing ef­forts in next year’s elec­tions.

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