'Bathroom Bill' Up For Senate Vote Tuesday

Posted March 16, 2017

After holding a almost 5-hour debate, the Texas Senate on Tuesday gave initial approve of a bill that seeks to prohibit transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice in many buildings.

The Texas Senate passed the bill known as SB 4 on February 8 and has now made it to the House Committee where it will be voted on in the future.

Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat, called the bill unnecessary and pointed out it's already illegal to harass or assault someone in a bathroom or anywhere in the state. Sen. Many said it will wreak economic damage, as conventions, sporting events and businesses have indicated they would leave the state if the bill is passed.

A House Democrat who filed a satirical bill that would fine men for masturbation complained she was targeted by Republicans for retribution on Tuesday. Kolkhorst said she does not think the bill encourages policing of bathrooms, but rather provides a remedy for people who feel uncomfortable while in restrooms or changing facilities with members of the opposite sex.

In an interview Wednesday with Dallas radio station KLIF, Patrick said Straus was "out of touch with voters".

On wages, the House approved a bill banning local governments from approving a minimum wage that exceeds the state rate of $7.25, and the measure now shifts to the Senate.

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Kolkhorst said transgender people can change the gender on their birth certificate, but others pointed out that this process is costly and time-consuming, and in some cases, they are not allowed to make the change.

"I'm afraid that if they vote for this bill they're going to put the House majority at risk next year", Cotton said. Be it because of bigotry or ignorance, Kolkhorst and Patrick both insist that the bill was created to protect the privacy of women and children by keeping men out of women's "most intimate public spaces".

On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office said the Republican legislation would reduce the ranks of the insured by 24 million in a decade, largely by cutting Medicaid recipients and people buying individual policies.

The Senate vote follows an emotional 13-hour State Senate Affairs Committee hearing last week which drew 2,000 people to the capital with the majority of the them opposed to the bill.

With a crunch-time House vote on a GOP bill replacing that law planned for next week, Vice President Mike Pence ensured conservative lawmakers that the administration was open to changes. She said the measure's shift of billions of dollars from lower- to higher-earning families essentially would transfer money from GOP to Democratic regions, and, seemingly taunting Republicans, she added, "Explain that to your constituents".

House Bill 277 would remove the restriction that a person is not eligible to be on a school board if the school district employs an aunt, uncle, son-in-law or daughter-in-law.