While the "bathroom bill,” or Senate Bill 6 continues to be debated, a variation of the bill will soon take center stage.
It's called House Bill 2899, but it's also causing quite a controversy.
The bill takes a different approach to the bathroom/privacy issue, but just like SB 6, San Antonio city officials are adamantly opposed to the legislation.
“We are promised a long night, there is no question,” Councilman Rey Saldana said.
Saldana is referring to his schedule Wednesday. He will be headed to Austin to represent the city of San Antonio and testify against HB 2899.
It basically would cancel out a city’s current protections for people, including a city’s non-discrimination ordinance that might allow the transgender community to use the bathroom based on gender identity.
A preliminary version of the bill reads, in part:
a) A political subdivision may not adopt an order,
ordinance, or other measure to:
(1) protect a class of persons from discrimination
The city of San Antonio passed its non-discrimination ordinance in 2013.
“It would say to city councils elected by your city, it doesn’t matter what you pass. It doesn’t matter that you and your community have been living with this for 3 years, we’re going to take it away from you,” Saldana said.
SAPD chief William McManus has also written a letter to legislators. In that letter he said in part:
“SAPD has not received any criminal complaints involving sexual assaults in public restroom.”
The letter went on to say:
“Multiple state laws already criminalize the conduct that some legislators seek to regulate through passage of this bill.”
For the most part, Governor Greg Abbott has not said much about any legislation related to bathroom or privacy, but Tuesday that changed with a statement that said:
"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. 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." Abott said.
HB 2899 will go before the House State Affairs Committee Wednesday.