Two state leaders unveiled a new bill on Thursday that would crack down on transgender bathroom policy across the state.
“You can mark today as the day that Texas drew a line in the sand and saying “No.” The privacy and safety of Texans is our first priority, not political correctness,” said Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.
The fight over transgender bathroom use is back again -- and this time, it's at the Texas state level.
“Transgender people have been using the bathroom for a long time, and there’s never been a problem. So what we're doing is finding a solution in need of a problem,” said Lou Weaver of Equality Texas.
The controversy is over a new bill, introduced by a senator from Brenham.
“My bill delivers a common sense solution for a level of personal privacy expected in our schools and private buildings. At the same time, this legislation allows private businesses to make their own decisions about these intimate settings,” said State Senator Lois Kolkhurst.
The first part of the bill focuses on business. The legislation would override local ordinances that allow transgender people to use the bathroom the matches their gender identity and allow each business to decide its own restroom policy.
“The second part of the bill speaks to what is expected in our government buildings, public schools, and universities. The bill requires that each dressing room, locker room and restroom be designated for use by the people according to their biological sex,” said Senator Kolkhurst.
The bill would also increase the severity of penalties for crimes committed in public restrooms.
Critics said if the bill were to pass, businesses would boycott Texas, similar to what North Carolina saw with the NCAA, entertainers, and businesses.
“It's discriminatory, it's wrong, and it’s bad. Telling people that you are less than, that you are not the same, that you don’t deserve the same common decency and respect is such a hard narrative for somebody to listen to,” said Weaver.
Senator Kolkhurst said schools would be free to make accommodations, like single occupancy bathrooms and locker rooms, for transgender students.
The Texas Association of Business has said the organization is strongly opposed to this bill, citing concerns that the bill, if passed, could cost the state up to $8.5 billion a year.