The governor and lieutenant governor of Texas both sounded off Thursday after corporations including American Airlines criticized the state GOP’s proposal for revising voting laws in the Lone Star State.
The Texas Senate approved the bill earlier Thursday. It calls for changes to voting hours, the number of voting machines at polling places and would give the state greater authority over local-level elections, the Dallas Morning News reported. The bill now moves on to the Texas House.
Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, defended the bill as an attempt to “protect election integrity,” the report said.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, also a Reoublican, slammed corporate critics for getting involved in the state’s policy debates, and called out American Airlines specifically.
“Texans are fed up with corporations that don’t share our values trying to dictate public policy,” Patrick said in a statement. He also claimed that an American Airlines lobbyist “admitted that neither he nor the American Airlines CEO had actually read the legislation.”
“Texans are fed up with corporations that don’t share our values trying to dictate public policy.”
The lieutenant governor added that the same airline had opposed a 2017 proposal regarding transgender athletes participating in scholastic sports.
Other corporations speaking out against the Texas election legislation included Southwest Airlines and Dell Technologies, both based in Texas.
“The right to vote is foundational to our democracy and a right coveted by all,” Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said, according to the Morning News. “We believe every voter should have a fair opportunity to let their vote be heard. This right is essential to our nation’s success.”
The companies and other critics have argued that GOP-backed efforts to change election and voting rules are attempts to impose limits on minority voters. Republicans have countered that Democrat-backed proposals represented efforts to centralize elections and loosen eligibility requirements, allegedly to ultimately grant voting rights to illegal immigrants.
Election law proposals across the U.S. have drawn reactions from companies including Apple, Facebook, JP Morgan Chase and Microsoft, as well as the Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs from 72 top companies, the Morning News noted.
Democrats opposing the Texas proposal included former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, who called election-reform efforts in Texas, Georgia and other states a “coordinated attack.”