Republican House Speaker Blocks Passage Of Texas Bathroom Bill

GOP Rep. Joe Straus has called the state's anti-trans bill “manufactured and unnecessary.”

The “Texas Privacy Act,” Texas' version of HB2, is still facing lawmakers, but Republican House Speaker Joe Straus blocked another bathroom bill from reaching the house floor.

Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images

House speaker Joe Straus speaks with reporters before a luncheon near the state Republican convention, Friday, June 8, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas. (Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)

On Tuesday, Straus ended discussion of House Bill 1818, which would end the Texas Railroad Commission, without addressing amendments that would have deprived trans people of their basic human rights.

One proposal, authored by Rep. Matt Schaefer, requires bathrooms in buildings owned or leased by the commission “to be designated for and used only by persons of the same biological sex.”

Another, by state Rep. Tony Tinderholt, mandates that, in a woman-owned enterprise that's been defined a “historically underutilized business," “the term ‘woman’ or ‘women’ shall mean the physical condition of being female, as stated on a person’s birth certificate.”

Senate Bill 6, which would ban trans people from using facilities matching their gender identity, passed the state Senate more than two-to-one. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says SB6 is one of his top priorities but, in an interview at the University of Texas, Straus called the bill “manufactured and unnecessary,” and said it was “astounding” it has taken up so much of the legislature's time.

According to the language of the bill, SB6 not only bars use of the bathroom, but prohibits municipalities from enacting LGBT-rights ordinances. It does allow for single-stall restrooms for use by transgender people, but civil-rights advocates insist that’s tantamount to segregation.

Schools and government services would face $1,000 to $10,5000 in penalties for not complying, depending on the volume of violations. SB6 also empowers individuals to report a violation, and file a complaint with the Attorney General if it isn’t addressed within three days.

Corporations have already announced they'll reconsider business in the state if the measure passes. Earlier this year, the NFL said such a law would jeopardize the Super Bowl’s future in Texas.

Latest News