57ºF

Leaders talk what will happen if 'bathroom bill' becomes law

Texas Senate Bill 6, which some called “The Bathroom Bill,” passed the senate Wednesday afternoon. It was just the first of several hurdles.

"Speaker Joe Strauss has pretty clearly indicated that he doesn't view it as a priority,” said Rice University Political Science professor Mark Jones. He believed the bill would be dead in the Texas House of Representatives. 

Jones said, "This bill has passed in the Senate because Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made it a priority and he runs the senate.  And Republicans respond to him.  It's gonna be dead on arrival in the house because Joe Strauss runs the Texas House. It's not a priority for him. He views it as negative. And therefore, he's gonna keep it bottled up in committee."

Jones predicted the bill would sit in a house committee until the end of the session on May 29.  As senators first considered the bill, the lieutenant governor would not make predictions. 

Patrick, a Republican, said, "The house does what the house does.  And the governor speaks for himself.  But the governor has been on the record supporting other issues like this."

Patrick released a statement Wednesday afternoon.  He said, "The people of Texas elected us to stand by our principles and uphold conservative values. The Texas Privacy Act reflects common decency and common sense and is essential to protect public safety. It protects Texas businesses and codifies what has always been common practice in Texas and everywhere else -- that men, women, boys and girls should use separate, designated restrooms, locker rooms and showers in government buildings and public schools.” 

Patrick added, "Though the debate on this legislation has been long and heated, it is important to remember that it is supported by an overwhelming majority of Texans including both Democrats and Republicans, Hispanics, African-Americans and Anglos, men and women.

If the bill becomes a law, it would mean individuals would have to use the bathroom, dressing room or locker room that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificate in public buildings.  This law would not apply to private businesses.