Anti-Transgender Amendment Passes Texas House

While the "bathroom bill" would override some state school district policies that allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, Republican Texan politicians said the bill was created to protect the privacy and safety of students.

Some of the same groups boycotting North Carolina over its transgender bathroom bill warned Texas that they may suffer the same consequences: lost conventions, events and corporate tax money. "Texans need to leverage their voices this week & demand Governor Greg Abbott (R) reject these unsafe bills, which would make the Texas legislature a national embarrassment". The bill passed in the Texas Senate in March but went nowhere in the House. It is an amendment to an unrelated measure already OK'd by the Senate, but the Senate must now sign off on the amendment before it goes to Abbott, a Republican who has said passing a so-called bathroom bill is a priority for this legislative session.

"I think it's absolutely about child safety", Paddie said. "This is about accommodating all kids". "They fear being laughed at, teased, shamed, punished, spit on, beaten, or killed", Melinda Hunter, mother of a transgender girl, wrote in public testimony offered to the state legislature.

The Texas House passed a whittled down though still controversial bill Sunday night that would bar transgender students from using school bathrooms that best align with their gender identity.

GOODWYN: The leadership in the Texas Senate is expected to approve the House's version of the bathroom bill, and it's anticipated that Texas Governor Greg Abbott will sign it. Wade Goodwyn, NPR News.

"I want to talk to you a little bit about history because I've lived through the separate but equal period", Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, told the floor in a passionate speech against the amendment.

But last week Patrick, who presides over the state Senate, threatened to block must-pass legislation if some version of the bathroom restrictions didn't pass.

Supporters described limiting the scope to schools as "middle ground" and hinted that it could soften the kinds of costly boycotts that hit North Carolina after it approved its bathroom bill past year. A district judge has twice ruled that Texas' 2011 law was passed with the intent to discriminate against minority voters. Today, a staggering 77 percent of respondents who are out or perceived to be transgender report being harassed, discriminated against, or even assaulted in school. But the impact on North Carolina has been negligible, and Texas's economy is one of the strongest in the union. Up until last week, some of the House's most conservative members were still looking for vehicles onto which they could amend the Senate's language.

Only the governor can actually call a special session, but Patrick warned he was willing to hold hostage a measure known as the "sunset safety net bill", a must-pass measure to keep certain state agencies from shutting down. "This amendment treats all students the same", Paddie said.

  • Larry Hoffman