July 24, 2017
There may be 20 issues on Governor Greg Abbott's (R-Texas) special session agenda, but one may be getting more attention than the other 19 combined: the state's Privacy Act. Kicked into extra innings after House Speaker Joe Straus refused to move it, the bill was one of the driving motivations for the legislature to reconvene.
After almost 10 hours of "emotional testimony," the Senate State Affairs Committee voted almost unanimously (8-1) to send S.B. 3 to the floor. This version of bill, which was written by the original author of the state's Privacy Act, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R), makes biology -- not "gender identity" -- the determining factor in which bathroom people use in schools and government buildings. It's hardly a radical concept, but you wouldn't know it from spoilers like Straus, who've done everything they can to block a bill that an overwhelming number of Texans (including 56 percent of Democrats) support!
That's mind-boggling to leaders like Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R), who can't believe anyone would knowingly put women and children at risk to satisfy the far-Left's crazy ideas of political correctness:
"The majority of Texans are behind the bill... Republicans, Democrats, Anglos, African Americans, Hispanics -- you know the numbers nationally. Overwhelming. People don't want their boys and girls showering together. People in high school and women don't want men following their daughters or their granddaughters or themselves into the bathroom. It's not about transgender people. It's not about that issue. It's about preventing sexual predators -- not about transgender people -- sexual predators from using this as a loophole..."
Try telling that to corporate heavyweights like Google, Facebook, and others. They're descending on Texas, armed with the Left's prophecies of economic doom. Unfortunately for them, Lt. Governor Patrick points out, they've been duped. "These business leaders [who are lining up to oppose it], whenever I talk to them almost all the time they've never read the bill, they don't understand the bill. The Left has done a great job of misinforming some of the brightest people in the country who run these businesses to think that it's gonna hurt businesses, and it didn't in North Carolina."
And the irony is, this measure actually gives companies the freedom to set their own policies! Under the liberals' model, CEOs would be at the government's mercy on bathroom, shower, and locker room rules -- which, as we know from talking to them -- are the exact opposite of what they're demanding in Texas!
"Whenever I talk to [these business leaders]," Lt. Governor Patrick told me on "Washington Watch," "I always ask them, 'What's the bathroom policy at your company? Do you let men in ladies' rooms?' 'Well, no...' So I said, 'So you don't want the government telling you what to do.' And of course they don't." The bottom line is, as one parent testified, "Intimate spaces should be safe spaces." If Speaker Straus can't agree with that, it will be up to voters to decide whether he's fit to lead the Texas House of Representatives.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.