Texas business leaders call on lawmakers to drop 'bathroom bill'

The CEOs say the bill, which would require transgender people to use public restrooms according to the gender on their birth certificate, would "seriously hurt the state's ability to attract new businesses, investment and jobs".

City tree ordinances can violate the Texas Constitution if they deprive landowners of "all economically beneficial or productive use of land", state Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a written opinion released Monday, one day before the Legislature begins a special session that will tackle the tree issue.

Texas, the most powerful Republican-controlled state, could lose about $5.6-billion (R72-billion) through 2026 and businesses could find it hard to recruit top talent if such a measure is enacted, according to the state's leading employer organisation.

A bill similar to North Carolina's passed the Texas Senate in the regular session and was killed by pro-business Republican leaders in the House, who ran out the clock on the measure.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has made passing a bathroom bill a top priority.

The Texas bathroom bill has received pushback from House Speaker Joe Straus and more moderate and business-friendly conservative factions within the state.

"I did not think it [shouting] would work, or that I would be heard and was more interested in the getting the photograph and not getting thrown out", Smith said.

Vanessa Coleman