DALLAS -- On Tuesday, 200 small business owners from across Texas signed their name to an open letter opposing plans for "bathroom bill" legislation in Texas.
The business owners said they'd been experiencing a growing sense of dread while watching the after effects of a similar bill that was signed in to law in North Carolina.
"Experts put economic damage from the discriminatory HB2 law at $395 million and rising. That damage is coming from the loss of corporate investments, talent, performances, sporting events, and conventions," the letter reads.
Business owners in Collin County say North Texas has one of the most robust economies in the country and they fear a bill targeting transgender men and women would push major companies out of the county.
Bob McCranie with Texas Pride Realty signed the open letter and says corporations are among the LGBTQ community's greatest advocates.
"The large corporations have equality statements, and they don't want to move to a state that are regressive," McCranie said.
Yondi Nixson of Frisco agrees. She and her husband run an air conditioning and heating company and they also signed the letter.
For Nixson and many business owners, their reasons for opposing any bathroom legislation is two-fold: They find it morally wrong, and a threat to Texas' strong economy.
"We've seen what's happened to other states with legislation like this, and what if companies just start packing up?" Dixson said.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has been one of the most vocal proponents of a bill restricting where transgender men and women can use the bathroom. Last week he addressed the Dallas Chamber of Commerce and renamed his efforts the "Women's Privacy Act."
When asked about his response to the new letter from small business owners, one of Patrick's aides said he didn't have anything else to say on the matter and that the lieutenant governor stands by what he said earlier on the week.
In the meantime, business owners say they're banding together to let lawmakers know how they feel and what they want to see in their community and economies going forward.
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