Just a few months after North Carolina's discriminatory bathroom law was repealed, Texas is trying to pass a very similar bill restricting transgender students from using the bathroom that correlates with their gender identity. Although one version of the proposed Texas legislation would only pertain to public and charter schools, it's still very similar to the other state law that caused a national uproar.
The Texas House approved the measure on Sunday, and the state Senate previously passed a more expansive bill (dubbed the Texas Privacy Act) on March 14 that would have included public bathrooms outside of schools, too. The Washington Post reports Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is determined to pass the discriminatory bill before the legislative session ends May 29, threatening to keep the state budget from being approved unless the school bathroom law is passed.
The House stuck the measure onto a bill about school districts' emergency plans, and it would force public K-12 schools to designate a separate bathroom for transgender students "who [do] not wish" to use the bathrooms marked for their "biological sex," according to The Texas Tribune.
After North Carolina passed a law prohibiting transgender people from using public bathrooms designated for the gender they identify with, the NBA and NCAA pledged to move championship games out of the state because of the HB2 bathroom mandate.
Lt. Gov. Patrick preemptively issued a statement after the Senate passed the Texas Privacy Act, saying, "The Texas Privacy Act is common-sense legislation that provides safety and privacy to women and girls and is supported by a broad majority of Texans from both political parties and every racial and ethnic group."
The Texas Privacy Act aimed to restrict LGBTQ bathroom access in the same facilities HB2 did in North Carolina: public schools and universities and government buildings. However, the House's amendment was more specific, only applying to public and charter K-12 schools.
The House version still needs to pass a final vote (which could happen as soon as Monday) and move through the Senate, but the Senate's likely to approve the amendment since it already passed the broader Texas Privacy Act.
Civil rights groups continue to fight the proposed legislation, and the ACLU of Texas tweeted that state legislators "should be protecting" trans kids, "not offering up more ways for discrimination."