Texas governor revives bathroom bill for special session

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is reviving a so-called bathroom bill targeting transgender people after the last try ended with Republican lawmakers angry and deadlocked.

Abbott on Tuesday recommitted to making Texas the first state since North Carolina to restrict bathroom access for transgender people.

"Considering all the successes of the 85th legislative session, we should not be where we are today," said Abbott said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Austin.

"A special session was entirely avoidable, and there was plenty of time for the legislature to forge compromises to avoid the time and taxpayer expense of a special session. As governor, if I am going to call a special session, I intend to make it count."

He included a "bathroom bill" on the lengthy agenda of a special session that will begin in July.

Big businesses and pro sports leagues including Google, Facebook and the NFL have called the proposals discriminatory and have urged Texas lawmakers for months to drop the idea.

“Trans Texans have experienced harassment and threats because of this last session and if any anti-trans bills get signed into law, then Governor Abbott’s legacy will be turning Texas into a state known for harming some its most marginalized people,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said Tuesday.

Abbott said Texas needs a law that "protects the privacy of our children" in public schools.

Similar proposals divided the GOP-controlled Legislature last session and ended with House moderates and social conservatives in the Senate fuming at each other.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Abbott's agenda "solidly reflects the priorities of the people of Texas."

"The people of Texas have a right to expect that we will finish the job on these critical issues and I am happy to join with the governor in doing the work they elected us to do. I continue to be proud to serve with Gov. Abbott and look forward to working with him in the upcoming special session," he said.

List of agenda item

1. Sunset legislation
2. Teacher pay increase of $1,000
3. Administrative flexibility in teacher hiring and retention practices
4. School finance reform commission
5. School choice for special needs students
6. Property tax reform
7. Caps on state and local spending
8. Preventing cities from regulating what property owners do with trees on private land
9. Preventing local governments from changing rules midway through construction projects
10. Speeding up local government permitting process
11. Municipal annexation reform
12. Texting while driving preemption
13. Privacy
14. Prohibition of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues
15. Prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion providers
16. Pro-life insurance reform
17. Strengthening abortion reporting requirements when health complications arise
18. Strengthening patient protections relating to do-not-resuscitate orders
19. Cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud
20. Extending maternal mortality task force

(Source: Texas Governor's Office)