AUSTIN (KXAN) — Despite 13 hours of emotional testimony, the State Committee agreed to move what critics call the “Bathroom Bill” to the Senate floor for a full vote following a 21-hour committee hearing.
Senate Bill 6 would require people in Texas to use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate in public schools, government buildings, and public universities. The 7-1 vote came after a marathon public meeting that started at 8 a.m. on Tuesday and ended minutes before 5 a.m. Wednesday morning.
A passionate group of people against the issue voiced their concerns for the transgender community if the bill passes. There was a long list of more than 400 people signed up to speak, so many that there were multiple overflow rooms dedicated to SB 6 testimony.
“This is plain and simple a bill to push us out of the way because they’re uncomfortable with us. They don’t know who we are, they can’t understand who we are and that makes them nervous and they’re in a position to make political gain by attacking us,” testified Jess Herbst, Mayor of New Hope, Texas.
Herbst announced that she is transgender earlier this year explaining her journey as a woman to the community. “I know that transgender people are just coming to light in our society, and we have made great strides in the last few years,” said Herbst in an open letter to locals.
Now that the bill will move to the full Senate, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick says he has the votes to pass the measure and send it to the House.
“While there was some very passionate opposition, it’s been very clear that the statewide support for this legislation is fast and tremendous,” said Texas Values President Jonathan M. Saenz.
Austin’s Convention and Visitors Bureau is predicting the economic impact of Texas lawmakers’ proposed “bathroom bill” as groups express concerns about the politically charged issue. Austin would lose an estimated 145,890 total hotel room nights and a total estimated economic impact of $109,683,377 between now and 2021.
“I’m very disappointed in the hearing today. They passed a bill that harms transgender citizens and puts forth a culture of discrimination in Texas,” said David Topping, Texas Field Manager of the Human Rights Campaign. “At the end of the day it’s not about public safety it’s about discrimination against transgender people and we at the human rights campaign will not stand for it.”