Straus condemns “bathroom bill,” talks local control

From The Texas Tribune:  https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/24/straus-fiercely-condemns-bathroom-bill-talks-local-control/

House Speaker Joe Straus said the controversial bathroom bill felt “manufactured and unnecessary.”

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus on Friday gave perhaps his harshest condemnation yet of the controversial “bathroom bill” championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Straus said the bill, which has drawn the ire of Texas businesses and been criticized as discriminatory against transgender people, felt “manufactured and unnecessary.”

“If we’ve gotten to the point in our civilization, in our society, that our politicians have to pass bills about bathroom stuff … I mean, we’ve gotten really out of control,” he said.

“For it to get this much attention in a legislative session is astounding to me,” he added.

The proposal would regulate bathroom use in public schools and government buildings on the basis of “biological sex,” prohibiting most transgender people from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity. The legislation would also nix local anti-discrimination laws meant to allow transgender residents to use public bathrooms that match their gender identity.

“I oppose it,” Straus said. “… I don’t feel a great deal of fervor to promote that bill in the House.”

In a wide-ranging interview with Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project and a Texas Tribune pollster, Straus downplayed tensions between the House and the Senate and distanced himself from recent comments made by Gov. Greg Abbott about city and county policies.

Asked about Abbott’s Tuesday remark that he wants the Legislature to pass a “broad-based law” that pre-empts local regulations, Straus said he didn’t know “exactly” what the governor had said but that Straus preferred a “step-by-step” approach to issues of local control.

“I don’t think a blanket policy on exerting power from Austin over locals is a particularly attractive idea, and I don’t think it’ll happen,” Straus said.

Continue reading at:  https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/24/straus-fiercely-condemns-bathroom-bill-talks-local-control/

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