Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick introduces anti-transgender bathroom bill

Jan 06, 2017, 00:33
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick introduces anti-transgender bathroom bill

Senate Bill 6, called the Texas Privacy Act, would prohibit city or county officials from adopting an ordinance that prevents a business from making policies for their bathrooms and dressing rooms.

"Transgender people have obviously been going into the ladies' room for a long time, and there hasn't been an issue that I know of", Patrick said at the press conference, according to Austin television station KVUE.

"All Texans care deeply about safety and privacy, but Senate Bill 6 isn't about either of those things", said Chris Wallace, President of the Texas Association of Business (TAB), which leads the Keep Texas Open for Business coalition. The language in each bill is a bit different, but both would require people to use restrooms based upon their sex at birth.

The bill allows any individual who feels uncomfortable sharing a space with a transgender individual, or believes that a government entity or school is violating the law, to report their concerns to the attorney general, who can asses civil penalties against the locality or school district.

The estimate follows what happened when a similar bill was filed in North Carolina.

At the end of past year, four states had legislation limiting transgender bathroom rights that were set to be on the agenda when lawmakers convened in 2017.

Citing the defeat of the LGBT-inclusive HERO ordinance by voters in Houston in 2015, Patrick said that he was not aware of any businesses that refused to move to Houston because of the defeat of HERO, and even noted that the city is set to host this year's Super Bowl. At a press conference in front of the State Capitol last month, the organization said a bill could cause Texas to lose more than 100,000 jobs.

Hopefully there are enough people in the Legislature who have more sense than prejudice that they will be able to stop this bill before it gets anywhere.

On Thursday, Kolkhorst said she filed the legislation "not to start a controversy but to end one". Performers and sporting events also have fled North Carolina in the wake of HB 2 - with the NBA, NCAA, and ACC all pulling major championship events that were poised to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars to local economies. "And that's to say nothing of the havoc it will wreak on the Texas economy should it pass. Make no mistake - the invidious intent of SB6 is to deny transgender Texans the ability to participate in public life".

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