TAB President Chris Wallace

Chris Wallace, president of the Texas Association of Business, opened the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce’s Texas Business Equality Conference this morning (Nov. 1).

In the special session of the legislature, Wallace touted, TAB stepped up and produced a long line of business leaders who testified against the bathroom bill.

However, just because businesses had to spend time and money defeating that legislation because it’s bad for business (not because it’s bad for people — House Speaker Joe Straus was the only one who made that argument) doesn’t mean TAB won’t be supporting those same legislators in the upcoming election. And TAB members will do that to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars across the state.

TAB is putting together a business scorecard. Voting for a bathroom bill is just one of many categories that will be included, even though that one issue hijacked the regular and special sessions this year producing what Wallace called the most anti-business session in recent memory. Support for education, for high-speed rail transportation from Dallas to Houston and healthcare issues are other votes that will be counted.

Wallace said the scorecard will be used to protect incumbents who are business friendly, run pro-business candidates in open seats and support viable candidates against incumbents who are not pro-business.

But TAB will continue supporting candidates who spent the session with their heads planted firmly in the toilet. As an example, the organization recently endorsed state Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, for re-election despite his vote for the bathroom bill. His support of that issued was brushed off as “OK” because of the part of the state he represents.

Closer to home, TAB endorsed Republican Cindy Burkett against Republican incumbent state Sen. Bob Hall in an east Dallas-Mesquite district that’s become a swing district rather than considering a Democratic challenger and is not backing away from its support of north Dallas Republican Linda Koop who went from reliable ally on the Dallas City Council to reliable right-wing anti-LGBT vote in the Legislature. Koop’s district is also considered a swing district.

One race Wallace conceded TAB is looking at is in northwest Dallas County where Dallas attorney Julie Johnson, a Democrat, is challenging incumbent Matt Rinaldi, who authored the bathroom bill. (See the upcoming Nov. 3 Dallas Voice for a story on Johnson).

— David Taffet