The Senate in the US state of Texas just passed a discriminatory anti-trans bathroom bill.
The Bill forces people to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender they were assigned at birth.
It also prevents public buildings such as schools and government offices from enforcing rules which would allow trans people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
Ten hours of testimony was heard at the weekend before a Senate Committee passed the legislation.
It then went to the full Senate and passed with 21 votes to 10.
“The Texas Senate just approved a blatantly discriminatory bill, demonstrating yet again that these lawmakers care more about pursuing cheap political points than protecting the lives of transgender Texans,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign.
“It is appalling that after hearing more than 10 hours of testimony, overwhelmingly from Texans who oppose this legislation, the Texas Senate still voted to move SB3 forward. Despite this broad opposition — including from businesses, sports leagues, parents, and faith leaders — the Texas Senate and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appear to be fine with establishing Texas as the next North Carolina. HRC will continue to fight this harmful bill as it moves to the House.”
Senate Bill 91 debated last week. The two pieces of legislature are almost identical.
SB 6 was a similar bill that was passed earlier this year in the Senate, but it failed in the house.
Activists spoke for 18 hours during testimonies against SB 6, meaning that the Senate set a registration limit for the hearing of SB 3.
Senator Lois Kolkhorst, who authored all three pieces of legislature, said in the opening of the hearing for SB 3 that it was a “Texan tradition” to “take care of these issues”.
Kali Cohn, a staff attorney for ACLU Texas, said that the bathroom bill is in violation of federal law and the US Constitution.
Cohn testified before the senate committee, referencing Supreme Court cases and other legal precedents the ACLU says makes SB 3 and SB 91 illegal.
“They’ve introduced legislation that targets transgender Texans under the guise of privacy and safety,” Cohn said. “That’s not what those bills do — what they in fact do is push transgender people away from being able to participate in public life.”
Business owners in large cities in the state have already expressed fears about the effect the Bill is going to have.
Phillip Jones, CEO of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau said that Dallas had already seen losses of $40 million, and could expect to lose another $1 billion if the law is passed.
It’s believed that HB2, a similar restrictive bathroom bill in North Carolina, will cost the state more than $3.76 billion.
HB2 supporters have said its costs are tiny compared to a state economy worth an estimated $500 billion a year, but more than 2,900 jobs set to go to North Carolina have now gone elsewhere.
The most damaging rejection came from money giant PayPal, which pulled out from a facility that would have added an estimated $2.66 billion and 400 jobs to North Carolina’s economy.
Adidas, Deutsche Bank, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and former Beatle Ringo Starr are other prominent names who have pulled out from using the state.