Texas lawmakers file 'bathroom bills'

Tomorrow morningTexas lawmakers will hear public testimony on the 'bathroom bills' filed in the Special Session.

AUSTIN - Friday morning, the Senate Committee on State Affairs will hear public testimony on two bathroom bills, Senate Bill 3 (SB3) and Senate Bill 91 (SB91).

Both bills were filed by Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) and appear to be identical.

Kolkhorst is the same senator who filed the so-called bathroom bill during the regular session. This time around, the language is different. 

The bills apply to political subdivisions, or cities and counties, and to public and charter schools. It requires people use multiple occupancy bathrooms, showers and changing facilities according to the sex on their birth certificates. It also states, except in accordance with federal law, cities, counties and school districts can't adopt their own policies to protect a class of people from discrimination when it comes to restrooms or participation in athletic activities.

Kolkhorst's previous bill made no mention of athletic activities. During the regular session, the Senate passed a bill to allow the University Interscholastic League, the governing body for high school sports, to disqualify student athletes if they determine the student's steroid use under the care of a doctor affects the safety or fairness of play. But the bill died in the House.

Senator Kolkhorst was not available for an interview.

The Senate Committee on State Affairs will host a public hearing on the bills Friday morning at 9 a.m.

Over in the House of Representatives, Representative Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton) has filed a bathroom bill.

During the Regular Session, Simmons filed a lighter, House version of a bathroom bill, but this time around the language is different.

"We believe this is a privacy protection act and it's a reasonable solution to what has come up as an issue and again the goal is to treat every child, transgender or not, with respect and dignity," Simmons said. 

Simmons' bill is House Bill 46.It states that except in accordance with federal law, cities, counties and school districts can't create policies to protect a class of people from discrimination as it relates to access to multiple occupancy restrooms, showers and changing facilities. The bill makes no mention of "sex."

Both the Senate and House bills say the law will be enforced by the attorney general.

Opponents of the bill say the legislation is unnecessary and discriminates against transgender Texans.  The Texas Association of Business announced it's launching a seven-figure radio ad campaign to fight the bills.

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