April 19, 2017
Now that the NCAA is bouncing back to North Carolina, Texas leaders are ready to get the ball rolling on their own privacy act. After weeks of being cooped up in the state house, one legislator thinks his new bill can break the logjam. Rep. Ron Simmons (R) is offering a slightly different version of the SB 6 plan Speaker Joe Straus has kept bottled up. And it already has one fan: Governor Greg Abbott (R). After hinting at his support for laws like North Carolina's, Texas's top executive spoke openly about his desire to deal with the dangerous agenda of the Left. "I applaud the House and Senate for tackling an issue that is of growing concern to parents and communities across Texas who are now looking to the legislature for solutions," he told reporters. "Rep. Simmons is offering a thoughtful proposal to make sure our children maintain privacy in our school bathrooms and locker rooms. As the debate on this issue continues, I will work with the House and Senate to ensure we find a solution and ultimately get a bill to my desk that I will sign into law."
While we comb through the language, we're pleased to see that HB 2899 continues to bring this threat to the well-being of children to the forefront of public debate. In brief, the bill would put the brakes on local ordinances that throw open the locker room, shower, or bathroom doors to anyone. A city council, school district, or other government body would have to approach the legislature for permission to change their policy. And that's no easy process. It's also a positive sign that Speaker Straus, who was blunt that Texas safety was not "the most urgent concern of mine," seems more inclined to move this measure forward. Even the business community, which had mixed reviews for SB 6, is taking its time to read through this latest idea.
That doesn't faze Simmons, who knows that companies are the least affected of anyone. "We're open for business in Texas," he said. "This doesn't affect private businesses; they can do what they want to. If somebody controls the stadium lease they can do what they want to there. So we're not controlling what they do from a private business standpoint." Meanwhile, in North Carolina, the NCAA is helping to boost Texas's cause (whether it wants to or not!). This week, the college sports association announced that it was returning championship events to the Tar Heel State after the legislature agreed to tweak HB 2.
Of course, that's incensed groups on the Left like HRC who know, as we do, that HB 2.0 (as they're calling it), does not allow them to force their damaging agenda on children across the state. North Carolina's state leaders still control who goes in and out of the bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms. "The NCAA has fallen 'hook, line, and sinker' for this 'bait and switch' sham 'deal' doubling down on discrimination," HRC complained. "Even worse, the NCAA has inexcusably gone back on its promise to ensure all championship games are held in locations that are safe, respectful, and free of discrimination. By rewarding North Carolina with championship games, the NCAA has undermined its credibility and is sending a dangerous message to lawmakers across the country who are targeting LGBTQ people with discriminatory state legislation." In the end, though, even the hype of HRC couldn't stand up against the public pressure for common-sense privacy protections. And the companies threatening to pull the same stunts would be wise to remember that.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.