AUSTIN, Texas — For many Texas children, school is the only time when they can rely on regular meals. School will be out for the summer soon, and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller sat down with Spectrum News 1 to discuss his department’s summer meal program for kids.

While he was there, Miller also addressed the issue that has him making headlines this week. He has ordered his employees to comply with a news dress code. It mandates they dress in a “manner consistent with their biological gender."

"I’m a low regulation guy. I didn’t really want to put in a dress code. But after COVID when everyone was working from home, in their pajamas on their couch, they kind of brought that same attitude back to the agency. So it was disruptive, not professional. Dress codes are not that unusual. It’s not illegal in Texas to have a dress code, many state agencies have dress codes. So we thought it was time and necessary to put in a dress code for our agency," Miller said. 

An ACLU attorney criticized the policy as a violation of federal law that bans employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Miller said his office has had complaints related to gender issues. 

"What we’d like for people to do who are in that situation is to just use the gender neutral bathroom, the family bathroom. And that saves it. We had some complaints, most of, the majority of my employees are women. When a man uses a women’s restroom it causes problems, so that’s what instigated that," he said. 

"When a man comes dressed in drag, or vice versa, it’s very disruptive, it’s not professional. We want you to come looking like you’re professional and representing," Miller continued. "I have a lot of foreign dignitaries in my office, we do international trade, I have state elected officials coming in. My people need to look and act professional."