AUSTIN, Texas- The Texas House of Representatives passed an amendment to Senate Bill 2078 Sunday evening that will require all public and charter schools to accommodate the rights of each student to access restrooms, locker rooms, and changing facilities with privacy and safety by providing single-occupancy facilities for students who do not wish to use the facilities designated for them based on their biological sex.
With a threat from the lieutenant governor hanging over their heads, the Texas House gave final approval Monday to a measure that would prohibit transgender kids from using a school bathroom that matches their gender identity.
That includes bills that would let police ask drivers whether they're in the US legally, restrict what school bathrooms transgender students can use and let adoption agencies reject gay couples over religious objections.
"Paddie's amendment will allow schools to continue to handle sensitive issues as they have been handling them", said Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, the most influential opponent of the expansive bathroom bill. "This is about accommodating all kids", said Paddie.
Just before the bill was debated, a group of Democratic women representatives visited the men's restroom as an act of protest, The Washington Post reports. "I remember those days", Thompson said, holding up a photo of the old "white" and "colored" signs that labeled segregated bathrooms in Texas.
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"No amount of discrimination is acceptable", Equality Texas said in a statement on Sunday night.
Under Paddie's amendment, it is unclear what will happen to schools that now allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identities - but LGBTQ groups are fearing the worst.
"They failed to get the broad exclusion of transgender people from society they desired and settled for placing vulnerable trans children at heightened risk of bullying and psychological trauma", Herbst said. "Bathrooms divided us then and bathrooms divide us now ..." The bill passed over vehement objections from business and civil rights groups. Texas led a lawsuit challenging that directive and a federal judge in Texas ordered it suspended. The bill now goes to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for his consideration. And two bills in the Texas Senate, S.B.
Supporters described limiting the scope to schools as "middle ground" and hinted that it could soften the kinds of costly boycotts that hit North Carolina after it approved its bathroom bill a year ago.
Texas was one of 16 states to consider legislation that would restrict bathroom usage for transgender people this year, after North Carolina in 2016 became the first state to enact a bathroom bill. "Governor Abbott should protect Texas's reputation and economy by vetoing risky legislation like HB 3859 instead of letting Texas lawmakers sneak discriminatory legislation through while the nation's attention is diverted". Additionally, the NCAA is scheduled to host the Final Four in San Antonio next year. "Only South Dakota's is similarly sweepingly", the Dallas Morning News reported earlier this month. Straus has indicated support for the House amendment, however, stating it "will allow us to avoid the severely negative impact" that would have resulted from the original Senate bill.