Politics

Patrick, Kolkhorst Unveil Controversial Bathroom Bill

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has made the bill a top priority for the legislative session. Opponents say it discriminates against LGBT individuals and could cost the state nearly 200,000 jobs.

Texas lawmakers unveiled plans today to ban transgender people from using the restroom of their choice. The controversial “bathroom bill” is a top priority for some GOP leaders.

State Senator Lois Kolkhorst formally sponsored the bill, officially known as SB 6. She announced details at a press conference at the State Capitol, while Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, a major supporter, looked on.

“Every Texan has the right to personal privacy, and these penalties protect all Texans equally,” Kolkhorst said.

The bill would also apply changing rooms and locker rooms. It would penalize school districts that let transgender individuals use the facilities of their choice. And it would bar local governments from adopting their own ordinances.

Patrick has made the bill a top goal for the session, but House Speaker Joe Straus says it’s not a priority.

“Governor Abbott has also been largely silent on the matter but generally is pretty sensitive to business interests,” says Brandon Rottinghaus, who teaches political science at the University of Houston. “And if it’s the case that this has the potential to hurt Texas’ bottom line, then I could imagine Abbott being against it.”

The Texas Association of Business estimates that anti-LGBT legislation could cost the Texas economy $8.5 billion and 185,000 jobs.

 

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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