Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) said in a statement Tuesday that he intends to sign a bill into law to regulate bathrooms. The statement comes the day before the House Committee on State Affairs is set to discuss a less-restrictive version of a bathroom bill.
The committee is set to hear testimony on HB 2899, a bill that focuses on anti-discrimination ordinances, written by Representative Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton). Simmons said school districts, cities and counties can't pass ordinances or policies that protect a class of people from discrimination when it comes to multiple occupancy bathrooms, showers and changing facilities.
Simmons says his intent is to prevent having a "patchwork" of rules across the state on issues that impact everyone.
"House Bill 2899 says 'wait a second, let's take a time out here,'" Simmons said. "And if there's an issue that needs to be handled related to discrimination - which is what the charge is in this - then we need to handle that at the state level."
Simmons acknowledges his bill is similar to Senate Bill 6, in that it calls on the attorney general to identify issues with bathrooms and work to find a resolution. But his bill doesn't say anything about "birth certificate sex" or how bathrooms are regulated.
Still, HB2899 is being met with some opposition. A group of female business leaders from Keep Texas Open for Business and Texas Welcomes All gathered at the capitol Tuesday to denounce claims that both SB 6 and HB 2899 keep women safe. The also added that the bills discriminate against the LGBT community.
Governor Greg Abbott broke his silence on the issue. In reference to HB2899, Abbott released a statement to KVUE News saying:
"I applaud the House and Senate for tackling an issue that is of growing concern to parents and communities across Texas who are now looking to the Legislature for solutions. Rep. Simmons is offering a thoughtful proposal to make sure our children maintain privacy in our school bathrooms and locker rooms. As the debate on this issue continues, I will work with the House and Senate to ensure we find a solution and ultimately get a bill to my desk that I will sign into law."