Friday, April 14, 2017

Texas House breathes life into bathroom bill

I am as mad as a hornet about Houston's latest assault on homeless people, but that rant is still being formalized, so here's a little fresh outrage at the Lege and the bathroom bill.

Oh, but they do. They really do.

(Texas) House lawmakers will debate a so-called "bathroom bill" next week that supporters hope will be less worrisome to business interests concerned the measure could hurt the Texas economy.

The decision to debate the House bill, and to set aside a more severe version passed last month in the Senate, marks the latest split the two chambers have endured during a particularly divided legislative session. The House bill will probably get the backing of the Dallas Cowboys, their lobbyist said, but the state's largest business group is withholding its support at this time.

"It's a bill that's trying to strike a balance between all the interested parties," Rep. Ron Simmons, the bill's sponsor, told The Dallas Morning News on Thursday. "It's our belief that discrimination issues related to privacy should be handled at the state level."

House Bill 2899 will be debated in the State Affairs Committee (next) Wednesday. The amended bill would ban cities, school districts and any other "political subdivisions" from passing local laws that protect certain people from discrimination in an intimate space. This would render local nondiscrimination ordinances that protect the rights of transgender people to use bathrooms that match their gender identity unenforceable.

Guess what this bill is modeled on.

While the language isn't an exact match, Simmons' bill looks quite a bit like the revised bathroom law recently passed in North Carolina. Both ban local governments from regulating use and access of restrooms, changing rooms and locker rooms.

Unlike the North Carolina law, Simmons' measure would not affect colleges campuses. It also would not restrict bathroom use based on biological sex, which the Senate Bill does. The House bill is co-sponsored by Republican Reps. Dustin Burrows of Lubbock, Cole Hefner of Mount Pleasant, Jodie Laubenberg of Parker, Valoree Swanson of Spring and Terry Wilson of Marble Falls.

I'm going to expect that Speaker Straus is going to hold fast his coalition of sane business and corporate types inside and outside the Dome, and is just accommodating the rural and exurban back-benchers aligned with their extremist counterparts in the Senate by giving this bill a committee hearing.  And nothing more than that.

Too much to expect?

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

TAB et al has said they still stand behind a "no bill" option rather than this.