Texas ‘Bathroom Bill’ Unveiled Thursday
A controversial piece of legislation was unveiled Thursday by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Texas Senator Louis Kolkorst.
Senate Bill 6 (SB 6) would require transgender people to use that bathroom based on their "biological sex" in public schools, government buildings and public universities. The bill would also forbid cities from passing ordinances that would force businesses to allow transgender citizens to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
In other words, private businesses would be allowed to set their own bathroom policy.
Before details of the bill were released, some in the business community and LGBT groups had voiced opposition. Some business groups have warned lawmakers that Texas businesses could be hurt if the state were to pass a bill similar to North Carolina's the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act.
Officials in North Carolina also argued that their legislation allowed businesses to set their own bathroom rules, but the state lost millions of dollars in cancellations after the NBA pulled the All-Star game out of Charlotte, the NCAA moved seven championship games out of the state and numerous concerts were canceled.
Texas State Senator Lois Kolkhorst will carry SB 6 in the Senate. According to the Texas Tribune, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick believes SB 6 is about privacy and Texas "drawing a line in the sand":
“We know it’s going to be a tough fight...But we know we’re on the right side of the issue. We’re on the right side of history. You can mark today as the day Texas is drawing a line in the sand and saying no.”
Patrick said his support for the legislation is based on privacy concerns, arguing that such policies allow men to enter women’s restrooms and locker rooms.
While the issue remains a "legislative priority" for Patrick, House Speaker Joe Straus has said previously that the issue wasn't the most urgent of concerns for him. The legislation could set up a showdown between the Texas Senate and House during the legislative session that begins on January 10th.