WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Texas legislature is considering an amendment to their budget that would ban companies who have publicly opposed voter suppression legislation in any state from receiving Texas government grants. The amendment would cover opposition to any legislation in 2020 or 2021, and clearly targets companies like American Airlines, Microsoft and Dell, Texas-based companies who earlier this year opposed the sweeping Senate Bill 7 that limited access to the ballot.
The amendment was proposed by House Rep. Tom Oliverson (R), and does not enact any penalties for companies that come out in favor of voter suppression legislation. Republicans are not asking companies to simply stay out of politics—they are punishing them for not actively supporting their efforts to disenfranchise voters. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick lashed out at companies that opposed SB 7 earlier this month, calling opponents of the bill a “nest of liars,” but saying the legislature would continue to “treat [companies] fairly” that spoke out. That no longer seems to be the case.