March 15, 2017
Halfway home! That's the status of the most important privacy bill of the year: Texas's SB 6. After an emotional five hours of debate, state senators -- led by the measure's author, Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R) -- heeded the call of parents, pastors, and employers and voted overwhelmingly to bring the Privacy Act one step closer to reality. By a vote of 21 (including Democrat Eddie Lucio) to 10, Texas sent a message to the rest of the country it wasn't about to back down when the safety of women and children is at stake.
Senator Kolkhorst, who, like Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R), has been a rock in the face of some of the fiercest opposition, said, "I will tell you as a woman, this is not a joke. This is about dressing rooms, lockers, showers, and restrooms. This is about privacy and protection for all people. It's not perfect. It's not easy when we take about these issues." But, she went on, leaders had to be vigilant -- not about people who identify as transgender -- but predators who "might in some way use a vague idea of gender identification to go into a private and intimate spaces and do harm." Like us, she understands that this isn't just about responding to threats from the federal government (like President Obama's school mandate), but from local governments and school districts in Texas that might try to elevate "gender identity" over biological sex. We congratulate the state senate for putting Texans' safety first!
Now that the bill has cleared one hurdle, the biggest remains. After a formal reading of the text, SB 6 heads to the state house, where its loudest critics hold the key to its fate. Join us in telling Speaker Joe Straus that it's time to take the concerns of parents and their children seriously and bring the bill to the floor for an up-or-down vote. In the meantime, all the attention may be on Texas, but chances are, plenty of you live in states debating the same issue. Make sure your voices are heard in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Washington!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.