Friday, August 11, 2017

Texas' "Bathroom Bill" Looking Less Likely As Special Session Nears End


With only a few days left in the special session of the Texas legislature called by Gov. Greg Abbott, Senate Bill 6, the anti-transgender "bathroom bill," hasn't even had a committee hearing placed on the schedule in the state House.

And according to the chairman of the committee that would handle the bill, a hearing any time soon looks unlikely.

From The Advocate:

Rep. Byron Cook, chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, said this week he had no plans to hold a hearing on the bill, which must pass his committee before going to the full House.

“Quite candidly, at this point, I don’t know what a hearing would add when we already had hearings” during the regular session, he told Austin TV station KXAN. In that session, the bill passed the Senate but stalled in the House. Some supporters are still holding out hope that it could be attached to other legislation, but that seems unlikely as well.

The testimony during the regular session was heavily against SB 6, which would require students, staff, and visitors in public schools to use the restrooms and other single-sex facilities matching the gender on their birth certificate or an ID issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, and would put the same restriction on those using facilities in buildings overseen by local governments. It would also override portions of city ordinances that allow trans people to use the restrooms of their choice.

“Corporate America is stepping forward, speaking loudly about the fact that this will have a chilling effect on business opportunity in this state,” Cook recently told The New York Times. “I’m hearing from many major corporations about this bill and the effect it will have.”

Companies that have stated their opposition include IBM, Amazon, Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Intel, Capital One, Ben & Jerry’s, Facebook, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines. The overall list of opponents encompasses more than 650 businesses, chambers of commerce, and convention and visitors’ bureaus, according to the Texas Association of Business, which has organized a campaign against the bill with a coalition called Keep Texas Open for Business.

The bill passed the state Senate two weeks ago, but the moderate Republican Speaker of the House Joe Straus is no fan of the legislation, and has indicated he may not even bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

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