Texas ‘bathroom bill’ may shape 2018 GOP primary campaigns

Joe Straus
FILE - In this April 19, 2017, file photo, Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, talks with fellow lawmakers on the House floor at the Texas Capitol in Austin. Straus has for months opposed a "bathroom bill" targeting transgender people, saying the proposal could spark boycotts that could hurt the state's economy. The Legislature is heading into special session on Tuesday, July 25 and conservative groups have promised to target Straus and his key House lieutenants during March's GOP primaries if the issue doesn't pass. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Transgender “bathroom bills” have fizzled in deep-red states across America, but the issue is still white hot in Texas.

The Republican-controlled Legislature is heading into a special session prepared to revive a bill requiring transgender people to use public restrooms according to their birth-certificate gender.

Conservative groups are vowing revenge during the 2018 GOP primaries against Republicans who don’t support it.

But whether or not Texas eventually enacts such a law, the issue is looming large over Republican primaries set for March.

Powerful business entities, from Apple to the NFL, oppose such a bill as discriminatory. But insurgent candidates have promised to brand lawmakers who dare reject it — or try to remain neutral — as soft on social issues dear to conservatives.