Countering Lt. Gov. Patrick, the Texas House Rolls Out Its Version of Privacy Bill

“The rest of the country is watching Texas and I hope what they’ll say is that Texas has taken a thoughtful position on this issue” Chairman Cook said

Countering Senate leadership’s Senate Bill 6, the Texas House on Thursday rolled out its version of a bill dealing with privacy in restrooms, changing facilities and showers – a proposal that State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, said should be viewed as a thoughtful approach to the issue.

“My position is we want to give people something they can be in favor of rather than something that’s so divisive,” Cook told Quorum Report after the bill was posted for a hearing in his committee next Wednesday.

The bill, HB 2899 authored by Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, says nothing about gender or anyone’s birth certificate or which restroom they can use.

Instead, it says local governments “may not enforce an order, ordinance, or other measure to protect a class of persons from discrimination to the extent that the order, ordinance, or other measure regulates access to multiple-occupancy restrooms, showers, or changing facilities.” Those local governments include cities, counties, and school districts.

So, basically unless the state or federal government has said otherwise, cities, counties and school districts would not be able to enforce any sort of protections for a certain class of people as it relates to public restrooms, showers or changing facilities.

The bill also recognizes the Attorney General’s ability to file suit against any local government that isn’t in compliance. It would also limit the ability of anyone other than the AG’s office from filing suit against local governments over this issue.

“We’ve got to strike the right balance,” Chairman Cook said. “I hope people will rally around this when they understand the bill and its intent.”

“What this bill does is it strikes the right balance that protects folks but at the same time does not have a chilling effect on the business community and in the venue community,” Chairman Cook said.

“The rest of the country is watching Texas and I hope what they’ll say is that Texas has taken a thoughtful position on this issue,” Cook said.

Originally published in The Quorum Report. Copyright April 13, 2017, Harvey Kronberg, www.quorumreport.com, All rights are reserved. Reprinted with permission. 

 

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