The largest business lobbying group in the state graded all Texas legislators and local state Rep. Oscar Longoria, D-Mission, came out on top.
The Texas Association of Business released a report card grading all state senators and representatives based on how they voted on bills during the 85th regular and special called sessions.
In calculating the scores, the report looks at how House members voted on 17 bills and how senators voted on 15 bills.
Longoria received an overall score of 100, the only legislator to receive a perfect score.
“I try to look for good policy versus politics and I think that’s what the TAB likes to focus on,” Longoria said. “I think the reason I scored so high was because on some of the political issues — the hotbed, the immigration issues and issues having to do with bathrooms — I try to stay away from those issues and focus more on policy for the entire state, good policy.”
In order for a bill to have been taken into account, the TAB ensured their position on that bill was com-municated to legislators.
Among the bills was Senate Bill 4, known as the “anti-sanctuary cities” bill. Votes against the law were considered pro-business votes. TAB took issue with a provision within the law known as the “show me your papers” provision.
“This provision directs officers to inquire about legal status at the point of detainment instead of arrest,” TAB stated in their report. “It expanded the bill beyond its intent of safety and potentially creates a climate for discriminatory behavior and most likely could negatively impact safety of our citizens by discouraging the reporting of crimes and creating distrust for law enforcement within the undocumented population.”
TAB also looked at Senate Bill 3 which would have required people to use public bathrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms that corresponded with their biological sex. The bill was seen as discriminatory towards people who identify as transgender.
The association opposed the bill because “it could hinder our members’ ability to attract, recruit, and retain top talent and would tarnish Texas’ reputation as open and friendly to businesses and families.”
Only senators’ votes on SB 3 were taken into consideration since the the bill never came up for a vote in the House.
Those types of issues are not only discriminatory, Longoria said, but they place an unnecessary burden on businesses.
“Those are issues that we probably shouldn’t focus on because they’re social stuff that — there really is no need,” he said. “There really is no need to pass a bathroom bill; I don’t think we needed to spend any time on that.”
During their limited time in session, Longoria said he primarily tried to focus on legislation that will help the Rio Grande Valley and, secondly, on issues that affect the entire state such as infrastructure, transportation and education.
“I think businesses probably focus more on whatever we can do to progress the state, make sure people have good paying jobs, good paying wages and are able to provide for their families,” he said. “I think that’s how the state progresses.”
Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, 82
Robert “Bobby” Guerra, D-Mission, 82
Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, 88
Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, 82
Armando Martinez, D-Weslaco, 75
Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Palmview, 71
Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, 80
Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, 80
Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, 73