The Texas Tribune reports:
As part of Republican efforts to revive the controversial “bathroom bill,” the Texas Senate on Tuesday gave initial approval to another version of the legislation.
The 21-10 vote — identical to the Senate’s March vote on a similar proposal — came after several amendments to the bill on the floor throughout an eight-hour debate during which Republicans once again espoused the need to pass the legislation for the sake of privacy in bathrooms while Democrats objected to its passage because of its discriminatory effect on an already vulnerable population.
Senate Bill 3 by Republican state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst would regulate bathroom use in schools and buildings overseen by local governments, including cities and counties, based on the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate or other IDs issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The legislation would also nix parts of local nondiscrimination ordinances meant to allow transgender residents to use public bathrooms of their choice. Unlike the Senate’s proposal from the regular session, the bill would not regulate bathroom use in state buildings and public universities or impose civil penalties for entities that violate the bathroom restrictions.
“By approving SB 3, the Texas Senate has displayed outright negligence for the safety and will of their own constituents,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “This law is designed to make it nearly impossible for transgender and gender non-conforming people to go about their daily lives like other Texans and opens the transgender students to discrimination, bullying, and violence. Encouraging discrimination against fellow Texans serves no one, and with Texas’ largest employers opposed to SB 3, it is sure to cause a devastating economic panic.”
Texas House Speaker Joe Strauss, a Republican, has repeatedly voiced opposition to anti-transgender bills, once saying he doesn’t want “the suicide of a single Texan on his hands.” Strauss is under enormous pressure from evangelicals and other haters to allow the House version of the bill to come to the floor during this special session.