Texas set to pass transgender bathroom law for schools

The bathroom measure moving in Austin was attached as an amendment to an unrelated school hazard preparedness bill Sunday night, and that bill then won final approval from the Republican-led House early Monday on a 94-51 vote. But one Democratic representative, Senfronia Thompson, compared the bill to Jim Crow-era laws that discriminated against black Americans.

During Sunday night's emotional debate, Republican lawmakers said the measure was not meant to discriminate against transgender students but rather to protect the privacy and safety of all students.

"Against all actual facts, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is hell-bent on making transgender kids into scary villains", said Jennifer C. Pizer, senior counsel at Lambda Legal, in a statement on Sunday.

Just before the bill was debated, a group of Democratic women representatives visited the men's restroom as an act of protest, The Washington Post reports.

Even still, narrowing the scope of the bill did little to placate Democrats, who say this legislation is about a lot more than bathrooms.

But it makes it so that if students don't want to use facilities designated for the sex they were assigned at birth, they must be able to access another facility. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature.

"Children spoke out about their fear of being bullied, transgender people fought for their rights, business leaders warned about the very real threat to our economy, and Republicans charged forward with their fingers jammed in their ears".

The bill is expected to pass through Texas' Republican-controlled legislative chambers. Two prominent groups published studies estimating that Texas would likewise lose billions due to boycotts, canceled sporting events and lost tourism if the legislature passed an anti-trans measure.

Meanwhile, the state Legislature has also approved a bill that would permit publicly funded adoption agencies to deny services to would-be parents based on religious objections.

"I'm willing to stay as long and until the place we're staying in ... freezes over, until we get that bill" passed, Patrick said during the bill-signing ceremony, with Abbott seated behind him.

The Senate's version of the bill would have extended the program until 2019 - which upset critics of high-stakes testing who wanted a permanent extension.

When Barack Obama was still president, the U.S. Department of Education tried to implement requirements that school districts nationwide allow transgender students to choose campus bathrooms or locker rooms they wished to use.

The Texas Senate on Monday approved "second-chance" legislation that would let those convicted of one-time, nonviolent misdemeanors to ask a court to seal their criminal record from public view - no matter when it happened.

Will Francis, government relations director for the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, said he has "major concerns" about the bill.

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