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UPDATE: After passing in Texas Senate, bathroom bill heads to a less-receptive House

The Texas Senate backed a bill that would bar some transgender people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity in schools and buildings overseen by local governments and nix parts of local nondiscrimination ordinances.

Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, is congratulated by Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, after the passage to engrossment of the “bathroom bill” during a long session in the state Senate, on July 25, 2017.

 

The Texas Legislature has taken a major step towards restricting transgender bathroom access in public schools.
The Republican-led state Senate gave its final approval to the bathroom bill after more than nine hours of debate. Only one democrat voted for SB3.

The bill now moves to the state House of Representatives, where it faces an uncertain fate. While social conservatives led by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick dominate the GOP in the upper chamber, the pro-business wing of the party holds greater sway in the lower one. House Speaker Joe Straus has spoken out publicly against bathroom legislation, warning of potential boycotts that could hurt the Texas economy.

Here’s what you need to know:

The bathroom bill now heads across the Capitol, where it faces a less-receptive audience. The Senate spent eight hours debating the bathroom bill Tuesday — a proposal that’s seen everything from tear-filled testimony to fiery protests at the Capitol this year — eventually approving it on a 21-10 vote. The bill would regulate bathrooms in public schools and government buildings, based on the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate or other forms of state-issued identification. The latter was a provision author state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst added to the legislation on the floor, and while the expansion would help transgender adults who can’t switch their birth certificates, it likely wouldn’t do much for transgender children who want to use school restrooms that match their gender identity. As senators verbally sparred on the floor, public and law enforcement officials held a press conference against the bill.

Dan Patrick kept his promise for another late night in the Senate. After the upper chamber approved the bathroom bill, senators waded through other high-profile items, such as legislation regulating do-not-resuscitate ordersand ending the state’s practice of collecting membership dues for certain public employees. The Senate also approved a bill to pump funds into teacher bonuses and retirement benefits — slashing a controversial provisionmandating school districts foot the tab on teacher pay raises along the way — and passed another that would ban taxpayer dollars from going to abortion providers in the state. Make that 14 bills the Senate has passed related to Abbott’s 20-item special session agenda.

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