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Texas's 'Bathroom Bill' Is Dead—For Now


There’s some good news out of Texas today: Legislation intended to limit transgender people’s access to bathrooms in schools and other public buildings in Texas died on Tuesday when the state House of Representatives concluded a special session without voting on the measure.

Though Texas’s “bathroom bill”—or, more accurately, a series of bills meant to limit the rights of transgender individuals and require them to use the restrooms, showers, and locker rooms in public facilities that coordinated with the sex on their birth certificate—had the support of Governor Greg Abbott and many Republican state representatives, plenty of business leaders and civil rights groups fought to keep the bill from making its way into law.

While the special session of the Texas House was scheduled to conclude on Wednesday, House Speaker Joe Strauss, a pro-business Republican, concluded the assembly a day early—effectively blocking the bills from making their way to a vote. Though many of his fellow Republicans were angered by the surprise dismissal, Strauss didn’t believe the legislation was a matter worth voting on—especially after the Texas Association of Business predicted that such legislation would cost the state nearly $5.6 billion in business by 2026 if it had actually passed.

Should these bills have made their way through the legislature—and been signed into law—they could have served as a touchstone for other socially conservative states looking to pass similar legislation. But for the moment, however, this anti-LGBTQ crusade has been stalled.

“Finally, Texans can breathe a temporary sigh of relief,” JoDee Winterhof, an official with the Human Rights Campaign, told Reuters. “Texans don’t want harmful, anti-transgender legislation.”

But Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has vowed that the fight isn’t over, and promised that the legislation will be revived during the next legislative session in 2019.

“Rest assured, the same eyes that watched Texas lawmakers this year will continue to keep a strong, watchful eye,” Winterhof told The Dallas Morning News. “If the legislature attempts to attack our communities again, all of us will come out with the same level of force and strength.”



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