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Seal of the Senate of the State of Texas Welcome to the Official Website for the Texas Senate
Seal of the Senate of the State of Texas
Welcome to the official website for the
Texas Senate
 
 
February 6, 2017
(512) 463-0300

LT. GOV, SENATORS OFFER PROGRESS REPORT ON SENATE BILL 6

(AUSTIN) — A bill that would require students at public schools to use the bathroom designated to their birth certificate sex is likely to receive approval in the Senate, according to its author and co-sponsors at a Monday press conference. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Brenham Senator Lois Kolkhorst said SB 6, called the Texas Privacy Act, has broad support from not only the Senate but the public as well. Citing strong public support for the measure, Patrick said the issue isn't a controversial one. "The bill is about public safety," he said. "It's about the privacy of teenagers who don't want to shower together in the 10th grade."

TSN photo

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick promotes SB 6 at a Monday press conference.

Senate Bill 6 would require people in public buildings, including schools, to use the bathroom designated by the sex listed on their birth certificate, but administrators could find ways to make alternate accommodations, such as a private changing room, on a case-by-case basis. It would prohibit local governments from dictating bathroom polices to private businesses, and it would prohibit cities from considering such policies when awarding private contracts. It also enhances penalties for crimes that occur in private changing rooms or bathrooms. Kolkhorst said polling on the issue remains consistent, with almost two-thirds of Texans backing the measure.

Patrick also used the press conference to fire back at arguments predicting economic backlash for the state if it passes the bill. The Texas Association of Businesses put out a letter last year warning that the bill could lead to up to $8.5 billion in economic losses and nearly 200,000 lost jobs. A prominent political fact checker called those predictions "mostly false" over the weekend, determining that they relied on unrelated or shaky studies from other states. Patrick called the TAB report "totally bogus" and pointed to Houston's defeat of a proposed ordinance that would've made it illegal to prohibit people from using a bathroom contrary to the sex listed on their birth certificate. "I don't know of any business that hasn't moved to Houston because the voters stood up for the issues involved in Senate Bill 6," he said. "No economic impact."

SB 6 has 15 co-authors in the Senate and has been referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee, but a hearing date hasn't yet been scheduled.

The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, February 7 at 10 a.m.

Session video and all other Senate webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's Audio/Video Archive.

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