Austin, Texas — A proposed Texas “bathroom bill” that would have restricted bathroom use for transgender individuals in public schools died in a special session of the Texas Legislature.
House Committee on State Affairs Chair Byron Cook refused to hold hearings on the issue during the special session, and Speaker of the House Joe Straus said the bill would harm the economy.
The bill passed the State Senate in May despite opposition from numerous Texas-based companies and 650 members of the Chamber of Commerce. Passage would have forced transgender people to use public bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers according to the sex indicated on their birth certificates.
But failure to act in the special session doesn’t mean the bill is dead. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who supported the bill, said the issue “is not going to go away,” according to Texas news sources. Gov. Greg Abbott, another supporter, could call the Legislature back into session to address the issue. Several socially conservative groups in Texas said the issue is likely to be at the forefront of midterm elections next year.
Those suggesting the legislation could be revived did so despite opposition from the Texas Association of Business and warnings from American Airlines, AT&T and Texas Instruments that the legislation would hurt the state’s ability to attract jobs and business investment.
The legislation was modeled on the law passed in North Carolina last year that resulted in a backlash from the state’s hospitality and events industry as well as numerous convention and trade show cancellations. An independent analysis of the backlash from the North Carolina law estimated the state would lose more than $3.76 billion in business over the next decade.
The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) — which proceeded with its meeting in Austin last month — announced that there would be no future AALL meetings in Texas. The group said notice of the new legislation was received too close to the event to enable them to relocate this year. The National Football League said it would reconsider hosting future Super Bowls in the state if the legislation were enacted.