Texas House passes ‘bathroom bill’ for public schools, charters

FILE - Bathroom sign (Nexstar File Photo)
FILE - Bathroom sign (Nexstar File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — One of the most controversial measures this legislative session passed the Texas House Sunday night. Lawmakers stripped a lot of language from the original ‘bathroom bill.’ Now, it’s only specific to schools, requiring students to use the bathroom of the gender on their birth certificate.

Deirdre Doughty has feared for this moment over the past few months: that the Texas House of Representatives will take on a bill she says will put her transgender daughter in jeopardy.

“I wish other people could understand the issues involved and the fact that my daughter is a child, a daughter, a human being, like everyone else. She’s not asking for special treatment. She just wants to be treated like her peers are,” said Doughty.

The state of Texas is now weighing in.

“To provide definitive guidance to our school districts as it relates to restrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities. Privacy and safety for all kids,” said Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, while laying out his change to a school safety and security bill.

Rep. Paddie moved to require bathroom use based on someone’s biological sex, but then allows the district to make exceptions in certain cases.

“There is absolutely no intent and I would argue nothing in this language discriminates against anyone. In fact, it makes sure there are reasonable accommodations for all children,” he said.

Above in the gallery, Melissa Ballard, who has a trans son, was skeptical.

“I personally think that a trans-boy is a boy and a trans-girl is a girl. A trans-woman is a woman. A trans-man is a man. So, nobody should be policed about where they want to go to the bathroom,” said Ballard.

The amendment was approved 91 to 50.

Since it was amended to a bill that already passed the Senate – Senate Bill 2078 – it now heads to a conference committee. Once lawmakers come to an agreement, it will head to the governor’s desk.

This was one of the two items Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick demanded the Texas House pass to avoid a special session. The other was property tax reform.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus released the following statement after the passage of Senate Bill 2078 on second reading:

“Rep. Paddie’s amendment will allow schools to continue to handle sensitive issues as they have been handling them. I believe this amendment will allow us to avoid the severely negative impact of Senate Bill 6. Members of the House wanted to act on this issue and my philosophy as Speaker has never been to force my will on the body. Gov. Abbott has said he would demand action on this in a special session, and the House decided to dispose of the issue in this way.”

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