Texas 'Bathroom Bill' gets green light from state Senate

Published: Jul. 25, 2017 at 7:22 PM CDT
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A Texas version of a North Carolina-style "bathroom bill" has again passed the state Senate but still faces obstacles.

The vote Tuesday came a week into a special legislative session that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott called after GOP leaders deadlocked in May over efforts to restrict which bathrooms transgender people can use.

But there is no sign of cracks in that impasse. Republican House Speaker Joe Straus for months has denounced the bill and has only sharpened his criticism in recent weeks.

Straus has stood with Apple, Amazon and other big-name companies that call the efforts discriminatory and bad for Texas businesses. Social conservatives say the bill is a needed privacy safeguard.

Police chiefs from Texas' largest cities rallied against the bill outside the state Capitol before the vote.

“The Texas Senate just approved a blatantly discriminatory bill, demonstrating yet again that these lawmakers care more about pursuing cheap political points than protecting the lives of transgender Texans,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign.

“Contrary to what you see in media portrayals of the issue, legislation to protect privacy has the support of an overwhelming number of those who voted our state Senators into office,” said Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz.

Texas Values says more than 700 pastors have called on the Texas Legislature to protect privacy.

“Time and time again, false narratives have been proven false. Texans want local government transparency and their rights to protected, and they want it now," said Saenz.