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Texas Law Enforcement Come Out in Opposition to the Bathroom Bill

At a press conference on Tuesday, Texas law enforcement explained why they oppose the controversial Senate Bill 3.

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The Texas State Capitol Building in downtown Austin.
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Texas law enforcement officials stood alongside lawmakers, public officials, and advocates for sexual assault victims on Tuesday afternoon to speak out against Senate Bill 3, better known as the bathroom bill.

Governor Abbott’s office released a statement before the press conference saying that the governor’s call for “privacy protection legislation” had “growing support,” rounding up statements from groups such as Texas Values, Concerned Women for America of Texas, and Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. In the statement, Tim Lambert, president of the Texas Home School Coalition, wrote, “Our position on policies forcing boys and girls to use the same shower rooms and locker rooms are no exception. These policies impair a parent’s ability to protect their child from compromising and unsafe situations.”

But many advocates deny any widespread occurrences of these “unsafe situations” related to bathroom use by transgender people. To an audience of mostly reporters and camera crews on Tuesday, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley highlighted the lack of recorded instances of men entering women’s bathrooms—one of the main possible scenarios that could be prevented with the bill’s passage, according to lawmakers in favor of the legislation—and the pre-existing laws meant to address those situations. “This bill in fact will make the job of law enforcement more difficult,” Manley said. “If a bill like this were to be passed, that would pull police officers’ time away from combatting violent crime into enforcing a bathroom bill, it makes communities less safe. It is time not spent combatting crime. Time not spent ensuring community safety.”

But it isn’t just a time issue for law enforcement. Art Acevedo, the current Houston police chief and former police chief of Austin closed the press conference with a warning that the bill will cause certain people to feel “emboldened” to discriminate, adding that people might feel compelled to “vigilante justice” when it comes to policing who goes into which restroom. “In a few short years, we have gone from a state that was always known for its hospitality, its love for strangers, its love for neighbors, to a state where we paint people with broad brushes,” Acevedo said. “We’re demonizing people based on immigration, based on sexual orientation, based on skin color, nation of origin. That’s not the Texas that I fell in love with.”

Although law enforcement had the strongest presence at the press conference, advocates for survivors of sexual assault also spoke out in opposition. Annette Burrhus-Clay, executive director of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, called for solutions “based on evidence, not on rhetoric” and stated that in her almost forty years of experience working with survivors of sexual assault, she has yet to hear any instance of a woman or child being targeted in a bathroom or locker room by a man posing as a woman. Lavinia Masters, an advocate and survivor of sexual assault, additionally urged lawmakers to focus their efforts on the “ridiculous” amount of backlogged rape kits in the state.

Introducing himself as “one of those lawmakers that likes to listen to the experts” when making policy decisions, Representative Joe Moody said that during the special session he’d work to convince his colleagues to oppose the bill. In his statement, Moody, who previously worked as a prosecutor in El Paso, read statistics regarding the mistreatment, harassment, and assault that transgender children face and committed to “try and restore sanity in this conversation.”

Despite protestations from law enforcement, the Texas Senate passed the bill in a 21-10 vote after an eight hour debate. The bathroom bill will now head to the House for consideration, where it’s uncertain if the guidance from law enforcement and advocates will again fall on deaf ears.

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  • José

    Republican legislators haven’t listened to the people who are actually affected by this ill-considered bill, nor educators, social scientists, or business leaders. Is there any reason to expect that they will pay attention to law enforcement?

    • dave in texas

      Only one group of people matters – the 8-10 percent or so that votes in Republican primaries. It has been repeatedly made abundantly clear that nobody else in this state matters.

      • WUSRPH

        The old squeaky wheel…..Until the purported GOP “moderates” that JJ used to talk about actually show up and vote in the GOP Primary this is what we are going to get, Being a “November Republican” won’t accomplish anything but ratify the choices made by the handful of radicals in the primary.

  • WUSRPH

    I see that Trump had to jump on the pick on transgender individuals bandwagon….Maybe Patrick told him how much money he’s collected since he and Dr. Hotze discovered how to milk the issue.

    Acevedo hit the issue head on—-Texas which used to mean “friendship” now means “feel free to discriminate”.

  • Kozmo

    And again: I have another take on this — my wife hates the new gender-neutral
    restrooms that are springing up as a response from some restaurants with
    only two bathrooms (hence no “third way”) because in her experience
    the male patrons, bluntly, are pissing all over the place and causing
    ALL the restrooms to be fouled and dirty. So what was formerly
    piggishness confined to the Mens’ room is now spreading to the formerly
    more presentable and hygienic Womens’ room. And she really hates this.

  • John Bernard Books

    Heard of any democrats stealing lately?
    “orida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s top information technology (IT) aide was arrested Monday attempting to board a flight to Pakistan after wiring $283,000 from the Congressional Federal Credit Union to that country.
    Soon after Imran began working for Wasserman Schultz in 2005, four of his relatives appeared on the payroll of other Democrats at inflated salaries, but Democratic staffers said they were rarely seen at work. They collected $4 million in taxpayer salaries since 2009.”
    http://dailycaller.com/2017/07/25/wasserman-schultzs-it-aide-arrested-trying-to-flee-the-country/

    dems at it again…..

    • Jim Mauney

      What exactly does this have to do with the bathroom bill?

  • WUSRPH

    Off the thread:

    On July 27, 1953, the Korean War armistice was signed at Panmunjom, ending three years of fighting.

    Let us hope that Trump is told, since he won’t know by himself, what a horrible place Korea was to fight a war.

  • WUSRPH

    Politicians all love cops….They say so all the time…but they have this problem with listening to them when they get away from cops and robbers and into questions that involve red meat politics.

  • WUSRPH

    You may have seen that Session’s DOJ has gone on record in a court filing that LGBT people are not protected by the civil rights act or various employment protections. Even went as far as to rebuke the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission which has ruled that they are protected. I guess they will go after the 14th Amendment next.

  • WUSRPH

    The strong position Chairman Byron Cook is taking on the bathroom bill raises the question of does he intend to come back next session? He barely won re-election after a challenge from the fruitcake maker financed by the TP/Texas Empower folks, who is already running for the March primary. Does Cooke intend to face this issue at the polls or is he bowing out? One would hope it is the first, but if it is he is going to be barraged with TV and other attacks about letting leggy-haired men in dresses attack sweet little girls in bathrooms.

  • WUSRPH

    Could there be any connection between the Most High Donald banning transgender persons from the military and the fact that he did it on the anniversary of President Harry Truman’s EO ending segregation in the military? They said that would hurt military discipline too and that the military should not be the place to implement social policy….

  • John Bernard Books

    WASSUP do you have any regrets….
    http://www.sexchangeregret.com/

  • Kozmo

    But meanwhile, has anyone seen Rep. Dawnna Dukes, the Invisible Legislator, this special session? Turned up for any roll calls or votes or committee hearings? Or just to cash her per diem checks and submit outrageous expense reimbursement vouchers?

  • WUSRPH

    All trees are equal…..except those covered by deed restrictions and neighborhood association rules…..at least that is what it appears is the Texas Senate (and Rep. Workman in the House)’s approach to regulating the cutting of trees on private property that would allow the continued regulation of tree cutting in such neighbors but not in the rest of a city…….Is this a recognition of the power of “gated community” neighborhood associations (former Sen. Carona at work?)….or just the fact that the Senate thinks that people who are well-off enough to live in such neighborhoods are smart enough to regulate such things but the plebeians living in other parts of a city are just too dumb? Welcome to the future….The Blade Runner Society.

  • SpiritofPearl

    “Teen birth and teen abortion have been increasing in Texas since 2011.” How’s that attack on Planned Parenthood working out so far?

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/what-texas-tells-us-about-the-latest-threats-to-womens-health-care

  • WUSRPH

    Today, as I am sure you knew, is the 103rd anniversary of the day the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia….and everybody else who was aligned with people aligned with Serbia or against those aligned with Austria went down the slippery slope to a total war in Europe now known as World War I. It shows how things can get out of hand quickly….You kind of hope they put notes on The Most High Donald’s desk very day with each day’s example of the how easy it is to screw up things even when you have the best, or even the worst, intentions.

  • WUSRPH

    Last night’s vote in the US Senate may make some people feel more secure about the fate of health care in the US, but, as The Economist points out, there is still plenty more damage that The Most High Donald or the Congress can do.

    http://tinyurl.com/y85nys9l

  • WUSRPH

    So Scaramucii takes out three in a week…but he may find it harder to get a Marine Major General.

  • WUSRPH

    And Trump comes out for police brutality…..playing to the mob again

    • SpiritofPearl

      Really creepy . . . and the cops who applauded him.

  • WUSRPH

    You got to love it…..at least if the news reports are correct:
    Scaramucii gets a job…and loses a wife who is said to hate Trump.

    • SpiritofPearl

      She made a wise decision.

  • MaynardGKrebbs

    WA. State puts up with this nonsense. Since enacted more creeps,weirdos,pedophiles have invaded girls bathrooms,locker rooms.
    If some one can think they are the opposite sex than birth, you can think they are a nut case. Pepper spray their ass.

  • TacoRub

    Ok, nobody’s said it but there is a large contingent at the Capitol that believe that Dan Patrick’s ill-fated relationship with a closet hermaphrodite is driving his passion for this legislation.

  • donuthin2

    Trump now advocating that police rough up suspects when taking them into custody. What have we come too?