As the battle over a new Georgia law imposing identification requirements for mail ballots and other voting limits raged this month, Republicans in Texas knew they would be next — and acted quickly to try to head off the swelling number of corporations that had begun to scrutinize even more restrictive proposals being considered there and around the country.
Gov. Greg Abbott angrily declined to throw the first pitch at the Texas Rangers’ home opener, accusing Major League Baseball, which had announced plans to pull its All-Star Game from Atlanta, of buying into a “false narrative” about Georgia’s new law. The next day, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick responded to an early trickle of corporate statements denouncing the proposals under consideration in Austin, calling the critics, including Texas-based American Airlines and Dell Technologies, “a nest of liars.”
“Texans are fed up with corporations that don’t share our values trying to dictate public policy,” Patrick said in a separate statement.
And on Wednesday, state Rep. Briscoe Cain (R), the chief sponsor of one of the voting bills, proposed financial penalties against entities that publicly threaten “any adverse action against this state” in protest against election legislation.
To many of the companies and voting-rights advocates, the message is clear: Some Republicans have no plans to back down, and businesses that continue to speak out could face retribution.