Business group ready to ramp up lobbying
Association opposed bathroom bill, ban on sanctuary cities
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.
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.