AUSTIN, Texas — The Latest on a revived “bathroom bill” nearing passage in the Texas Senate (all times local):
A Texas version of a North Carolina-style “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people has again passed the state Senate but still faces obstacles.
The vote Tuesday came a week into a special legislative session that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott called after GOP leaders deadlocked in May over efforts to restrict which bathrooms transgender people can use.
But there is no sign of cracks in that impasse. Republican House Speaker Joe Straus for months has denounced the bill and has only sharpened his criticism in recent weeks.
Straus has stood with Apple, Amazon and other big-name companies that call the efforts discriminatory and bad for Texas businesses. Social conservatives say the bill is a needed privacy safeguard.
Police chiefs from Texas’ largest cities rallied against the bill outside the state Capitol before the vote.
Police chiefs from Texas’ largest cities are decrying a “bathroom bill” being debated in the Legislature, saying it will make the state less safe and waste their time.
Officials from Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin and El Paso gathered at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday. The Senate began debating requiring transgender Texans to use public restrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates.
The chiefs said they’d not found examples of restroom-related sexual assaults and that forcing them to combat non-existent crime will increase discrimination and make Texas more dangerous.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo noted that state lawmakers ignored law enforcement opposition while recently passing a “sanctuary cities” law allowing police to inquire about peoples’ immigration status. He urged the Legislature “don’t put another handcuff” on police.
Texas senators have begun an emotionally charged floor debate over a revived “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people.
The chances of passage remain tenuous even though Republicans firmly control the Legislature.
State senators approved a proposal mandating transgender Texans use public restrooms corresponding to their birth-certificate genders during the regular legislative session that ended Memorial Day. Business groups complained it would wreak economic havoc in Texas similar to one approved last year by North Carolina.
The Texas House eventually approved a version applying only to public schools, which the Senate rejected as too weak. The issue stalled until Republican Gov. Greg Abbott convened a special session to advance it and other conservative priorities.
Outnumbered Democrats can’t stop the bill, which should pass the Senate on Tuesday. Its House fate is unclear.