By Chuck Lindell – American-Statesman Staff
Monday, April 17, 2017
No longer silent on an issue that has roiled the Texas Legislature for months, Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that he wants to work with the House and Senate to approve a transgender bathroom bill.
“I support the principles of both the Senate and House to protect privacy in bathrooms. We will work to get a bill to my desk,” Abbott said via Twitter.
Abbott’s statement of support came one day before a House committee was to begin debate on a new measure that would block cities, counties and school districts from enacting or enforcing transgender-friendly restroom policies.
House Bill 2899 by Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, would nullify local anti-discrimination protections that regulate access to multiple-occupancy bathrooms, showers and changing rooms.
“It’s really targeted at making sure that a city or a political subdivision doesn’t set up a new protected class,” Simmons told the American-Statesman. “My opinion is, those issues should be handled at the state level, so it’s the same everywhere across the state.”
Abbott called Simmons’ bill “a thoughtful proposal to make sure our children maintain privacy in our school bathrooms and locker rooms.”
“I applaud the House and Senate for tackling an issue that is of growing concern to parents and communities across Texas who are now looking to the Legislature for solutions,” Abbott said in the statement.
Senate Bill 6
By targeting local anti-discrimination policies, such as Austin’s protections based on gender identity, Simmons’ bill takes a different approach than Senate Bill 6, which would require government buildings and public schools and universities to limit bathroom use to the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate.
SB 6, approved largely along party lines last month in the Senate, also would block cities and counties from requiring businesses to adopt transgender-friendly restrooms.