Texas ‘Bathroom Bill’ Unveiled Ahead Of 2017 Session

UPDATED | January 5, 2017 3:40 PM

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AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Texas lawmakers will decide whether to embrace an issue that caused a national uproar in North Carolina — banning transgendered people from using the bathroom of their choice.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a top social conservative voice in the state, unveiled the proposed law Thursday at a news conference.

Patrick says the “Privacy Protection Act” is a top priority for the GOP-controlled Legislature, which convenes next week.

Lt. Governor Patrick issued this statement today following the filing of Senate Bill 6, the Texas Privacy Act, by Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham):

“The people of Texas elected us to stand up for common decency, common sense and public safety. This legislation codifies what has been common practice in Texas and everywhere else forever — that men and women should use separate, designated bathrooms. It is supported by an overwhelming majority of Texans including both Democrats and Republicans, Hispanics, African-Americans and Anglos, men and women.

“SB 6 also ensures that businesses have the freedom to determine their own bathroom policies and that no public school can institute a bathroom policy that allows boys to go in girls restrooms, showers and locker rooms and girls to go in boys restrooms, showers and locker rooms.

“This issue is not about discrimination — it’s about public safety, protecting businesses and common sense. I congratulate Sen. Kolkhorst for filing SB 6 and for her commitment to protecting the privacy of Texans and keeping them safe.” 

 VisitDallas responded saying it “does not support this effort and will work to stop any effort that discriminates or has an adverse effect on growing the tourism economy, and we urge our state leaders to do the same. Dallas is open for business to everyone.”

Attorney General Ken Paxton issued the following statement of support for Senate Bill 6:

“After our success in stopping President Obama’s bathroom rules in court, states are now free to enact legislature of their choosing to protect privacy. Texans should feel safe and secure when they enter any intimate facility, so I applaud the work of Lieutenant Governor Patrick and Senator Kolkhorst for fighting to protect women and children from those who might use access to such facilities for nefarious purposes.”

Lawmakers likely will support it, even though Texas’ largest business lobbying group says it and other anti-gay rights proposals could cost the state up to $8.5 billion and 100,000-plus jobs.

North Carolina faced boycotts, and potentially billions of dollars in lost state revenue, after passing its own version last year.

A Virginia lawmaker introduced similar legislation this week.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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