Cook’s Kangaroo Committee Contradicts Conservative Voters

Today, the House Committee on Economic Competitiveness released an interim report deriding legislative efforts to keep men out of women’s bathrooms and locker rooms.

The committee, chaired by departing State Rep. Byron Cook (R–Corsicana), was formed by retiring House Speaker Joe Straus (R–San Antonio) in a transparent attempt to alter public opinion surrounding the House’s obstruction of conservative efforts to pass the Texas Privacy Act during the regular and special legislative sessions last year.

Using Amazon’s nationwide search for a second headquarters as a guise, Straus charged the committee, among other tasks, with examining “common themes reported by companies and employees in choosing to locate or not locate to a state.”

The cards were stacked from the beginning, as Straus vocally opposed the legislation and the bill was killed twice in the House Committee on State Affairs, chaired by Cook.

Ahead of their first meeting, State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington) penned a letter to Cook asking to sit in on the hearing, a common courtesy usually extended to members of the House in every committee. Cook declined, instead inviting a parade of liberal personalities like Dallas business magnate Mark Cuban and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo to come tell them why the “bathroom bill” was bad for Texas. Unsurprisingly, they obliged and provided Cook’s kangaroo committee with the liberal testimony they were looking for.

The report attacks Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Dan Patrick for prioritizing the legislation and states that unless they “publicly state that it will not be considered again,” Texas will lose out economic opportunities from companies like Amazon.

This is a false liberal narrative emanating from the liberal Texas Association of Business, who received $130,000 of its $200,000 budget during the previous legislative session from national LGBT groups. In fact, Texas continues to top national lists for the best place to do business, due in large part to conservative policies, such as no state income tax, that lead to a high quality of life enjoyed by citizens across the state.

It also completely ignores the desires of real Texans in favor of an Ivory Tower elitist, “know better” mentality. While Cook and Straus continually mock efforts to protect women’s privacy, over 90% of Republican primary voters last week supported Proposition 6, which stated that “Texas should protect the privacy and safety of women and children in spaces such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers in all Texas schools and government buildings.”

Notably, State Reps. Charlie Geren (R–Fort Worth) and Angie Chen Button (R–Richardson) declined to sign onto Cook’s interim report, despite serving on the committee, leaving Democrats and State Rep. Sarah Davis (R–West University Place) as the only ones willing to lend their names.

With Straus and Cook both leaving the legislature, some have suggested that perhaps neither Geren nor Button want to walk the plank with them on a policy supported by a vast majority of Republicans.

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Brandon Waltens

Brandon Waltens serves as the Capitol Bureau Chief for Empower Texans. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved to Empower Texans in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin.

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