It’s the most controversial bill of the special session, but the “bathroom bill” took a big step forward on Tuesday after the state senate voted to advance the legislation. Despite the progress the bill is making, many across Texas continue to voice their concerns over the bill.
While state senators were debating the bathroom bill inside the capitol on Tuesday, outside police chiefs from the state’s biggest cities made their opinions heard loud and clear.
“As chief of police of one of America’s 10 largest cities, I’m asking legislators, don’t do this. Don’t pass this unnecessary bill that does nothing to make us safer,” SAPD Chief William McManus said.
The bill would require transgender people use the bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms according to the sex on their birth certificate when in public schools or government buildings.
Texas law enforcement leaders said that the bill is trying to fix a problem that does not exist.
“The bathroom bill doesn’t pass the test, the most basic test of any public safety bill. It does nothing to make us safer,” Chief McManus explained.
School district superintendents across Texas are also voicing their concerns, including Dr. Brian Woods of San Antonio’s largest district, Northside ISD.
“Proponents of this bathroom bill have grossly overstated the significance of this concern. I don't know if I can find a principal anywhere who would tell me this issue is in the top 10 of their list of concerns or worries,” Dr. Woods said.
Hundreds of businesses are also upset with the possibility of the bill passing. However, none of that appears to phase supporters like Gov. Greg Abbott.
When asked if those in the business community, law enforcement, and superintendents are wrong to believe the bill is discriminatory and looks to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, Abbott said, “They are wrong. There’s absolutely no intent whatsoever to be discriminatory about this. In reality, this has nothing to do with police. If you look at the way the bill is written, this is not a criminal law. The authority to do any type of legal action on it is vested in the Attorney General of the State of Texas and it’s civil action.”
Abbott also mentioned that the bill is gaining support, at least from groups like Texas Values, Texas Home School Coalition, and Concerned Women for America of Texas. The bill will face a different battle in the house, where speaker Joe Straus has made it clear he’s not a fan of the legislation.