New ‘bathroom bill’ presented to Texas lawmakers

Gender neutral bathroom (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — For the first time, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is making his opinion clear on one version of the so-called bathroom bill. House Bill 2899, called the ‘Texas Protection Act,’ would ban cities from adopting nondiscrimination ordinances that would apply to restrooms.

After months of not giving a direct opinion on the so-called ‘bathroom bills,’ Governor Abbott is announcing his support for the House and Senate.

In a statement the Governor said:

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. Rep. Simmons is offering a thoughtful proposal to make sure our children maintain privacy in our school bathrooms and locker rooms. As the debate on this issue continues, I will work with the House and Senate to ensure we find a solution and ultimately get a bill to my desk that I will sign into law.

State Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton is behind the new legislation. He says he wants to make sure cities and counties can’t set up their own rules to have a new protected class.

“As a father and grandfather I filed The Texas Protection Act and believe it provides much needed privacy protections for Texans and has been vetted with leading constitutional experts. The TPA affirms that Texas continues to be open for business while at the same time protecting Texans all across our great state.”

Austin Mayor Steve Adler calls the proposed legislation a solution to a challenge that doesn’t exist. He believes, if any so called bathroom bill were to pass, it would lead to a loss in revenue from conventions, the city’s welcoming reputation would be damaged and it would put the most vulnerable at risk.

“If we were to pass something like this it would be a self-inflicted wound of mammoth proportions. My hope is that these bills ultimately won’t go forward.”

The fate of the Senate version, Senate Bill 6, remains unknown. It passed the Texas Senate last month, but the speaker of the house has yet to bring it up for a committee vote. Speaker Joe Straus calls it bad for business.

The House bill goes before a State Affairs Committee Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Kate Weidaw is looking at how Austin could be impacted if the bill were to pass on KXAN News Today.

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