Five stories that have North Texas talking: Another study forecasts financial woes if bathroom bill passes; 11 Dallas schools are losing their librarians; what if Texans could buy cars directly from Tesla?; and more.
A study released Monday renews fears of major financial consequences if Senate Bill 6 becomes official in the six remaining weeks of the Texas Legislature. The "bathroom bill" could cost the state $3.3 billion in annual tourism and more than 35,600 full-time jobs associated with travel and conventions, according to the Waco-based Perryman Group. The study was commissioned by Visit San Antonio and the San Antonio Area Tourism Council.
This isn't the first negative financial forecast for the bill. The Dallas Morning News reports: “The Texas Association of Business released a similar study in December that lawmakers panned as inaccurate. It estimated Texas would take an economic hit as big as $8.5 billion if the bathroom bill passed.”
Introduced as the Privacy Protection Act, the bill would bar people from using restrooms or locker rooms in schools and other government buildings that don’t match the gender on their birth certificates. Opponents view the bill as discriminatory toward LGBT Texans. Evidence supporting the bill as a public safety measure is largely anecdotal. [The Texas Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, KERA News]
- Almost a dozen Dallas schools are losing their librarians due to budget cuts. The district is trying to secure miscellaneous funds to make up for a $60 million shortfall next year, The Dallas Morning News reports. Leaving 11 campuses without librarians in 2017-2018 will save $2 million. The librarians won’t be laid off, but rather arranged to fill vacant positions at other schools. “The decision, which rests with Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, effectively shaves 31 librarians off the books in a school district of nearly 14,000 professionals.” [The Dallas Morning News]
- Should Texans be able to buy a car directly from the manufacturer? Tesla says yes. So does Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, one the state lawmakers that introduced a bill this session to make manufacture-direct sales legal, KUT reports. Their constituents who sell cars for a living, however, say no. Several other states have adopted this way of shopping, but Texas hasn’t budged. Isaac thinks Texas is denying an opportunity for those manufacturers to set up shop in the state. Nonetheless, Isaac’s “not optimistic” his efforts will be successful this year. [KUT]
- A Lower Greenville bar and music venue is closing its doors next month after 20 years on the strip. Crown and Harp, which opened in 1997 as the Cavern, is a dingy relic from the Dallas neighborhood’s past life as a hub for live music and dive bars. The Lower Greenville scene changed as more retail and fine dining popped up, but Lily Taylor, who put on hundreds of events at the small venue in 2016, tells the Dallas Observer: “Crown and Harp is closing because not enough people cared about it, top to bottom.” The future of the building is uncertain at this time. [Dallas Observer]
- Buc-ee’s is a common pit stop for Texas drivers, but the travel center’s newest location in Katy may be more of destination. Along with its typical gargantuan convenience store, the Katy location will boast a 255-foot-long car wash — what Buc-ee’s officials think will be the largest in the world, according to the Houston Business Journal. The undertaking is so large, the opening had to be postponed from this spring until this fall. The new store is expected to cover 56,000 square feet and provide about 120 fuel dispensers and outdoor merchandise sales. [Houston Business Journal]
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