• Today
    July 19

  • 11:08 AM

Texas Senate committee approves 'bathroom bill'


Added 08 March 2017


A bathroom sign welcomes both genders at the Cacao Cinnamon coffee shop in Durham, North Carolina, US on May 3, 2016. (Reuters)

AUSTIN, TEXAS – A Texas Senate committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would restrict access to public bathrooms for transgender people after hundreds of people lined up to testify on legislation that critics said promotes discrimination.

The bill, which would require people to use restrooms that correspond with the gender on their birth certificate, not with their gender identity, now heads to the Republican-controlled Senate where it is expected to pass. Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who guides the agenda in the Senate, has said it is a priority piece of legislation.

However, analysts do not expect the bill to make it through the state House of Representatives, where there is more concern about the potential economic impact.

The bill, which touches on a flashpoint in US culture wars, is similar to one enacted last year in North Carolina. That law prompted economic boycotts and the loss of sporting events that estimates said cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

The stakes are higher in Texas, which is the largest US state with a Republican-controlled legislature and has an economy larger than Russia's.

Patrick, who has called the bill common sense legislation that protects privacy, has challenged media reports and a survey by a prominent Texas business group predicting economic damage.

But nearly 70 business, including some of the state's biggest employers such as American Airlines, sent a letter to Republican leaders this month to reject the bill that they said would "legalise discrimination."

The bill's sponsor, Republican Senator Lois Kolkhorst, said it would protect safety, adding she was proud to offer a bill that tries "to strike a balance to protect, defend and give a dignified way as to how we move forward."

Hundreds registered to testify, with more than 250 speaking in the committee. Almost all the testimony was against the bill while supporters said it would help prevent sexual predators from targeting women and children.

Pastor Seth Wynn, a transgender man, said transgender people are often the victims of violence, adding the bill offers them discrimination and not protection.

Wynn, who is bald and has a beard, said his birth certificate registers him as female, adding that if the bill passes: "There is a going to be a problem if I show up in a (women’s) bathroom."

In the House, Speaker Joe Straus, a Republican who drives the agenda in that body, has not shown support, saying there are worries in San Antonio, an area he represents that is slated to host the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four. (Reuters)


Dos and Donts

Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus


Do you think the schools starting earlier in the new school term will help with traffic management?