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'Bathroom bill' opponents surprised to learn bill, amendment remain alive

HOUSTON – “Do they want their 11- or 12-year-old daughters going to bathrooms with my son? Because that is what this law says he has to do,” said Ann Elder as she held up a photo of her transgender son.

Ben is 11.

Elder lobbied against the so-called "bathroom bill" when it was in the Senate.

She was surprised Sunday night when she found out it was still alive in the final days of the Texas legislative session.

"I am so mad about this bill and the amendment. Because it is clearly an effort to ostracize and to discriminate against transgender students, who are the most vulnerable people in the entire population," she said.

The Texas Senate already passed a measure that would mean all transgender people would have to use public restrooms that coincide with the gender on their birth certificate.

"This is not an LGBT issue, not a transgender issue. It's about preventing a free pass to sexual predators who are not transgender from being able to walk into any bathroom with any child, any woman at any time," Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in March.

The amendment was added to an unrelated education bill in the Texas House and would only apply to children while attending public and charter schools.

"When it passed, I was just devastated. And I am still reeling from the whole thing. Trying to figure out if this bill does pass, and the governor does sign it, what is my family going to do?" Elder said.

Since changes were made to the bill after it left the Senate, it will now go to a committee and eventually to Gov. Greg Abbott for his approval.

Patrick released to following statement:

"I want to make sure our colleagues in the Texas House are aware that the Texas Senate has added over a half billion dollars for schools to HB 21 including $200 million for Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR), $200 million in new funding for the Foundation School Program and a $100 million for facility funding to school districts and charter schools. The bill also includes Education Savings Accounts for children with disabilities. As I said last week, it is hard for me to believe any Texas lawmaker would vote against a half billion dollars for public schools, as well as voting against children with disabilities, simply to oppose school choice.

"I ask the House to seriously consider concurring on this important legislation."

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