Corporate criticism of GOP-led voting bills spreads to Texas

FILE - In this July 14, 2020 file photo, a voter, right, shows her identification to a Harris County election clerk before voting, in Houston. Texas Republicans advanced a slate of proposed new voting restrictions Thursday, April 1, 2021, that would reduce options to cast ballots, limit polling hours and hand more power to partisan poll watchers. All those efforts are rolled into a single bill that cleared the GOP-controlled state Senate a key marker in a campaign by Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott, to impose new restrictive measures over elections in America's biggest red state. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

AUSTIN, Texas – The ranks of big corporations now criticizing GOP efforts to restrict voting access spread Thursday to Texas as measures that would reduce options to cast ballots and limit polling hours advanced in the state Capitol.

American Airlines, which is based in Fort Worth, came out against restrictive voting measures that have a favorable path to reaching Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's desk in the coming weeks.

Public opposition from the airline came after a package of sweeping elections changes cleared the GOP-controlled Senate and, notably, a day after some of Georgia’s most prominent corporate leaders came out publicly against a new election law after civil rights activists criticized their silence.

“To make American’s stance clear: We are strongly opposed to this bill and others like it,” the airline said in a statement.

Unlike in Georgia, the corporate criticism in Texas to the election bills comes before they have been signed into law. Corporate interests carry big clout in the Texas Capitol, but Abbott and other Republicans have given no indication of wavering in their pursuit of passing the measures before the session ends in May.

The passage of Senate Bill 7 was along party lines in a vote after midnight early Thursday.

American Airlines' reaction to the bill advancing was slammed by Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the powerful Senate leader. “Texans are fed up with corporations that don’t share our values trying to dictate public policy,” Patrick said in a statement.

House Republicans on Thursday also began efforts to move a similar bill, known as House Bill 6, to the floor with nearly 200 people signed up to testify at a hearing.