Texas 'Bathroom Bill' is Expected to Pass as a Law for Public Schools
On Sunday night, House members approved an amendment to be added to Senate Bill 2078. The new language states that all students must use the bathroom that corresponds with their birth certificate,
“With legislative deadlines looming — and GOP primary voters and Patrick breathing down their necks — House members voted largely along party lines Sunday night to attach the legislation to Senate Bill 2078, a school-safety measure. The newest version of the “bathroom bill,” authored by Representative Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, would prohibit transgender students in K–12 schools from using bathrooms matching their gender identities and require schools to provide “single-occupancy” restrooms,” writes the Texas Observer.
“The board of trustees of a school district or the governing body of an open-enrollment charter school shall ensure that each school or school facility accommodates the right of each student to access restrooms, locker rooms, and changing facilities with privacy, dignity, and safety by requiring the provision of single-occupancy facilities for use by a student who does not wish to use the facilities designated for use or commonly used by persons of the student’s biological sex,” according to the amendment.
Another similar, but more broad proposal passed through the Texas Senate months ago, but stalled in the House. The Senate Bill with the newly added bathroom language focuses strictly on public schools.
“It’s absolutely about child safety,” said Republican Rep. Chris Paddie about the bathroom amendment to the bill. “This is about accommodating all kids.”
Under this bill, transgender students at schools won’t be permitted to use the bathroom of the sex they identify as, but instead could be directed to use a single-occupancy restroom.
The amendment inclusion passed 91-50.
House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, who opposed the broader “bathroom bill,” approves of the new language in the bill because it only applies to strictly schools.
“I believe this amendment will allow us to avoid the severely negative impact of Senate Bill 6,” said Straus in a written statement Sunday night. He also said the bill “allow schools to continue to handle sensitive issues as they have been handling them.”
However, several Democrats are still up in arms over this.
“This amendment is the bathroom bill and the bathroom bill is an attack on transgender people,” said Rep. Joe Moody, an El Paso Democrat. “Some people don’t want to admit that because they are ashamed, and this is shameful.”
“But opponents still vowed to fight Sunday’s Texas amendment with lawsuits,” writes CBS News. “If the Legislature succeeds “in forcing discrimination into Texas law, you can bet that Lambda Legal will be on the case before the next school bell rings,” Jennifer C. Pizer, senior counsel and director of law and policy at the national gay rights group Lambda Legal, said in a statement.”
Although this looks like it will be a win for conservatives who are looking out for the safety of Texas’ students, lawmakers are not dropping the idea of having this as a state-wide rule, that would apply to more than just schools.
The state Senate voted 21-10 on Wednesday to add the bathroom rules to an unrelated proposal on county government. However, it’s unlikely the Democrat who sponsored the bill will accept the changes.