Lawmakers At Odds Over Bathroom Bill

With the days ticking down in the 2017 Texas Legislative Session, there's still no resolution on so-called "bathroom legislation."  The Senate has rejected a compromise bathroom bill passed by the House last weekend.  That legislation was an amendment to a school safety bill.  It would require students to use the public restroom of their biological sex or have the option of using a separate, stand-alone restroom that schools would be required to provide. 

The Texas Senate already passed a bathroom bill back in March, but that bill died in the House due to lack of support from Speaker Joe Straus.  However, the last-minute compromise bill came after the governor reportedly threatened to call a special session over the matter.  "After the House vote, we heard from Speaker Joe Straus who said that the governor had said this issue would be addressed in a special session if they didn't give it a vote," says Alexa Ura, who covers the Legislature for the Texas Tribune.  She tells KTRH that without the governor's threat, the House may not have done anything.  "There was obviously some hesitation in the House to take a vote on this...I think in a lot of ways folks have sort of held off on publicly supporting this," says Ura.

Before the governor got involved, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had already threatened a special session if the House didn't act on bathroom legislation.  The Lieutenant Governor is also not satisfied with the House compromise bill.  "Dan Patrick said that the language that was added to it was pretty ambiguous, and that it doesn't actually do anything," says Ura.

The Senate plans on pushing for a conference committee to hammer out a bill with the House, but Sunday is the deadline for any bill to be agreed on in the regular session.  "If it is considered in a special session, it might be a more far-reaching measure than what the House has proposed at this point," says Ura.  "But it will depend on what the governor calls for in that special session."

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