Hearings set Friday on two anti-trans bathroom bills.
By John Wright
Texas lawmakers have introduced five anti-LGBTQ bills in the 30-day special session of the Legislature that began Tuesday.
The fifth — Senate Bill 23 — is an even more sweeping proposal that would bar cities, school districts and other political subdivisions of the state from prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ people and other groups, undoing existing protections covering millions of Texans.
Two of the anti-trans bathroom bills are set for hearings Friday morning in the Senate Committee on State Affairs.
The Dallas Morning News’ Lauren McGaughy notes that if the House declines to take up the anti-trans bathroom bills, as many expect, the hearings could be the only opportunity for the public to testify against them.
SB 3 and SB 91, both by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, are similar to SB 6, her anti-trans bathroom bill that died in the regular session. However, Kolkhorst’s special session proposals go one step further by prohibiting public schools from allowing trans student-athletes to compete.
“With lawmakers moving fast and furious in efforts to ram through legislation that would blatantly legalize discrimination against transgender Texans—we can’t waste a single minute,” Equality Texas wrote in an email to supporters Wednesday afternoon. “Texas’ SB 6 was the near twin to North Carolina’s disastrous HB 2. And now, the mastermind behind that devastating legislation is coming back for a second shot at making anti-transgender discrimination state law in Texas.”
On Thursday morning, a coalition of LGBTQ chambers of commerce from across the state, including Houston, joined the growing chorus of opposition to the bills from the business community.
“Numerous companies, conferences, sports leagues, and other organizations have stated they will not continue to do business in Texas if such discriminatory measures become law,” the chambers wrote. “Texas Lawmakers must return the State to its business-friendly roots. They must have the courage to stand up to the vocal minority pressing for discriminatory legislation that will harm our State, its businesses, and its people.”