The decision to put the so-called bathroom bill on the Texas Legislature’s special session is not sitting well with a group of convention planners, who feel it’s discriminatory, and has pulled their 2019 meeting out of Texas.
"I would certainly hope, at some point, that there is a recognition that continuing to pursue legislation that targets a marginalized group of people is something that is going to cause real damage," Chuck Smith, head of Equality Texas, tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI.
The 7,000-member Professional Convention Management Association was scheduled to have their "Super Bowl of Convention" is Houston, but cited the debate over transgender bathroom use as a reason to cancel it. That's sparking fears of a downturn in future conventions.
"If the meeting planners are not coming here, that's likely to have an impact on the conventions that these people book," Smith explains.
The convention business is huge for San Antonio. A report out earlier this year found that, if the so-called bathroom passed, it would cost the San Antonio-New Braunfels Metropolitan Statistical Area, $411.8 million annually in lost business, as well as the elimination of 4,650 jobs.
"And those are just the meetings we know about,” Cassandra Matej, head of Visit San Antonio said in a release. “My fear is that there are groups out there who have already scratched San Antonio off their lists because the state is being regarded as discriminatory and unwelcoming just because of these discussions.”