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Patrick Bathroom Plan Could Void Local Protections

So-called bathroom bill could undermine cities’ non-discrimination ordinances.

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Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

When Toyota wanted to move its national headquarters to Plano in 2014, the corporation insisted the city government pass an ordinance to protect its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees from discrimination by local businesses. Plano swiftly complied. Similar ordinances have been passed by city councils in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Rockwall, while one passed by Houston was overturned by a local referendum in 2015.

But the new Senate Bill 6 being proposed by state Senator Lois Kolkhorst and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick likely would overturn at least a portion of every one of those ordinances. The bill would prohibit local governments from requiring private businesses to allow transgender people to use the restroom of their identity rather than their gender at birth. By negating one portion of the local ordinances, the Legislature might force the local governments to go back and re-enact the remaining portions of their local rules, opening them up once against for debate at the city council level. A similar legal battle between the City of Charlotte and the North Carolina legislature already has resulted in an estimated loss of about $1 billion in tourism, sporting events, and corporate expansions.

But Patrick is all about your gender on the day you arrive in your birthday suit. If your heart and head later tell you that you are not the boy or girl who your mother wrapped in a blanket and nurtured, too bad. Protecting your right to pursue happiness with your new gender identity is just far too likely, in Patrick’s view, to invade the privacy of others or give cover to the sexual predators who will use it as an excuse to prey on others in changing rooms, public showers and restrooms.  So the state needs to step in to tell locally elected city councils, locally elected school boards, and colleges what is best for them.

Some of the major provisions of the bill are:

  • Local governments cannon pass ordinances telling private businesses how to regulate use of their bathrooms.
  • Local governments cannot use company policies on bathroom use to determine whether the firm receives a government contract.
  • Public schools and open-enrollment charter schools must adopt a policy designating multi-occupancy changing facilities and bathrooms by gender and restricting their use to students by the biology of their birth.
  • School districts may accommodate transgender students with a single occupancy bathroom if there are “special circumstances.”
  • Public buildings also must adopt gender-specific bathrooms when they are multi-occupant, but may accommodate an individual with a single-occupancy bathroom if there are “special circumstances.”
  • A school district, open-enrollment charter school, state agency, or political subdivision that violates the law would be subject to a first-offense penalty of $1,000 to $1,500 and civil penalties of up to $10,500 for subsequent violations.
  • The bill also would enhance penalties for crimes that occur in a bathroom or changing facility.

A coalition of Texas businesses remains skeptical of the legislation and claims it could cost Texas up to $8.5 billion in lost tourism, sporting events and corporate relocations or expansions. Chris Wallace, president of the Texas Association of Business, said corporations need to recruit employees from all over the nation and millennials are far more sympathetic to LGBT issues than people from older generations. “It’s unnecessary legislation,” Wallace said. “We don’t want to do anything to tie the hands of business to recruit workers.”

Wallace said the Patrick plan is almost identical to HB 2, the legislation that created a blow-up in North Carolina, resulted in cancelled sports events, rock concerts, and led major corporations to halt expansion plans in the state. (HB2 also contributed to the defeat of North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican. After the election, the North Carolina legislature met briefly to consider repealing HB2 but ultimately decided not to.)

Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas, echoed many of the economic arguments, but he also noted that Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth have had non-discrimination ordinances for more than a decade without problems, and San Antonio has had such an ordinance for about five years. “The legislation is completely unnecessary. Transgender people didn’t just start to exist,” Smith said. “Any legislation that would target any group of people for discrimination is morally bankrupt and wrong.”

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  • WUSRPH

    We can’t have local people disagreeing with Dan….that would lead to anarchy and maybe even the election of Democrats. He, like Trump, knows what is good for all of us….and he is going to make us accept it!

  • donuthin2

    I suppose if we are dumb enough to elect him we are dumb enough to like him. Seems that most gobble up his rhetoric and like it. Are we really that dumb or too preoccupied to care.

    • dave in texas

      “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” H.L. Mencken

      • donuthin2

        Lol, I guess so.

      • St. Anger

        mencken has lots of disparaging and amusing quotes about democracy. so does aristotle, for that matter.

        but until there is actually a real democracy to evaluate, we are left without any point of reference.

        you can’t go to great lengths to prevent your government from being a democracy, then blame democracy when your government falls apart.

        turns out oligarchies make bad democracies. whoulda thunk?

  • WUSRPH

    Let’s let the numbers speak for themselves, remembering what January 2009 was like:

    “The final report issued by the Labor Department during President Obama’s administration showed the unemployment rate at 4.7 percent, slightly up from 4.6 percent the previous month. Economists surveyed by
    Bloomberg had expected American companies to add 180,000 jobs in the month. Still, the number of new jobs added in December was far above what’s needed to keep up with population growth, economists said. December marks the 75th straight month of job growth – the most extended streak the country has seen since 1939.… Revisions to job figures for October and November also added another 19,000 jobs to the rolls.”
    (Washington Post)

    • donuthin2

      Crap, those are facts. Who cares about them. Most would rather get their information from anecdotal quotes.

    • JEM

      So your point is that after eight years we’ve finally returned to an unemployment rate as low as in 2008? Notably seven of those last eight years showed double digit real unemployment, three of them over 15%. During that same time frame the national debt rose from $10.6 trillion to $19.8 trillion. You’re right, those numbers do speak for themselves.

      • WUSRPH

        We returned to a growing economy….not the collapsing one he inherited from those great business-mined Bush folks who, as JJ tells, knew how to run a business….but apparently not an economy or a government.

        • JEM

          Every recession has eventually seen a recovery. Only one other has lasted as long as this one. Both were overseen by Democrats, one a tax and spend politician, the other a proponent of borrow and spend. Despite the bumbling and interference with the free market (remember those “shovel ready jobs”?) the economy has finally straightened itself out, as it will inevitably do if left alone. Hopefully Trump can get the economy growing faster while not nearly doubling the national debt–if he performs no better than his predecessor we’re all in trouble. By the way, I think the “Blame it on Bush” excuse ran out in 2010.

          • WUSRPH

            I’m sorry, but the GREAT RECESSSION happened on GW’s “watch”. He will always carry that on his record, just as he will the WMD in Iraq and the phasing down on operations in Afghanistan in order to invade Iraq thereby making it easier for Bin Laden slip out of the country. The man EARNED his demerits….

        • John Johnson

          You keep wanting to pair me up with Bush…not sure why. I cussed him long before I did the WPE. Bush and his group opened my eyes and helped push me toward personal observation and personal conclusions. I do have him to thank for that. He was not a good President.

      • St. Anger

        “You’re right, those numbers do speak for themselves.”

        and what are they saying? “JEM doesn’t understand economics.”

        • WUSRPH

          Why does that surprise you…neither does JJ or most of the world, often even including me….

        • JEM

          Although I’d agree with the gentleman below that no one truly understands economics, I would certainly be willing to hear your explanation of why the numbers I mentioned are an indicator of a strong economy. Very slow growth possibly, but strong?. I find the rise in the national debt extremely worrisome–and honestly, I can’t put my finger on where all that money went. If we’d revived the space program and traveled to Mars, or had a national health care plan where everyone got free quality health care, or gave all students free college, or fixed our crumbling national infrastructure, or accomplished some other monumental task–I might hesitantly buy into $9 trillion in debt over an eight year period. However, I don’t think I, or anyone else, actually knows where all this money went. This isn’t just an Obama issue–all this debt was approved by a Congress that for most of the period was Republican controlled. Maybe you understand this better than me–I’d be interested in your take on it.

          • St. Anger

            well there’s a lot here, and i can’t tackle it all right now, gotta get the kids form school.

            but i’ll leave you with one thought: where did the $9T figure come from? when i come back to this, my first task will be to correct that number.

          • JEM

            The $9 trillion is the difference between the current debt and the debt the day Obama took office. Not a totally fair measure, but often quoted, as it is the biggest number. If you take out most of the 2009 debt, which was from Bush’s last budget, with the exception of ARRA ($253 billion), which was 100% Obama’s, you get closer to $7.9 trillion. However, if you use that measure then you also need to add any debt incurred in 2017 to Obama’s total, as that will be his budget. I have a feeling that the $9 trillion won’t be that far off.

  • BCinBCS

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again:
    Why is it that Republicans believe that going to the bathroom is a sexual activity?

    • John Johnson

      Why do we have segregated lockerooms? Why don’t schools just build one big shower and dressing facility for both the boys baseball and women’s softball teams?

      Every hospital I have been in recently has bathrooms scattered throughout that shows a both genders sign. Why not a few of these in our public schools instead of totally overturning the apple cart?

      This subject, in light of what the Big’s are trying to ram through this session under the radar, is a joke….Dan Patrick is joke. The money that the Big’s gave Abbott, Patrick, Burton and others is not a joke.

      Big Insurance could care less about transgender bathrooms. Patrick’s making this red meat issue allows him to push through a bill that prevents the average Texan from hiring an attorney when the are shorted or denied claims after catastrophic home damage. This is tops on his and Abbott’s agendas. It just doesn’t get the press that the red meat issues do.

      No group paid more into their campaign coffers than Texans for Lawsuit Reform…the lobbying arm of Big Insurance.

      We are an ignorant lot. No one pays attention.

      • BCinBCS

        “Why don’t schools just build one big shower and dressing facility for both the boys baseball and women’s softball teams?”

        Other than you, name one person who has advocated this.
        As for the remainder of your comment, I could not agree more.

        • St. Anger

          “Other than you, name one person who has advocated this.”

          um, me? here, like two days ago.

          • BCinBCS

            Jed, If I remember correctly, you were advocating unisex restrooms that included privacy. I don’t think that is what JJ was implying.

          • St. Anger

            nope. i didn’t say anything about privacy.

            we didn’t need privacy for urinals now. even though we realize the guy next to us may (hypothetically) be sexually interested in the concept of our junk, we also have faith in the basic social framework that discourages peeking.

            if we don’t have faith in that, then basically any public restroom is going to be a problem. if we *do* have faith in public decency, then what does it matter what gender identity the person next to us has?

        • John Johnson

          That was as a sarcastic comment as I could make on the subject…you thought I was serious? Hahaha.

          • BCinBCS

            Because of some of the crazy things that you believe, it is sometimes hard to determine when you are serious and when you aren’t.

      • dave in texas

        That’s how it’s done in Texas these days. Create a distraction with a BS issue like this idiotic bathroom bill while the real work of screwing people over is done in the background. In the meantime, pressing issues like public school finance, environmental degradation, child and protective services, etc. get ignored completely. Texas government has been in the pocket of the insurance companies for a long damned time.

        • WUSRPH

          You act like this hasn’t been happening since the first time three people (whether Neanderthals or earlier) got together to make a decision. There is quite a bit more notice these days about what is going on in Austin and Washington, DC, than there ever was in the past. If people don’t pay attention, that is their fault….

        • BCinBCS

          Amen, Dave.

      • WUSRPH

        There have been several articles on line and elsewhere about this bill already and the session has not yet started. There will be many more…and you are certain to tell us about it many, many times. Meanwhile, keep stirring up your friends and relatives to write, call, text or e-mail their representatives in the lege about it. That is your role in the process.

        By the way, have you asked your most recent endeared legislator how he intends to vote on this bill? (We haven’t heard much about him in some months…other than that he plans to introduce a “religious freedom” constitutional amendment that will allow you to ignore all anti-discrimination laws if your view of your god’s teachings tell you that you should. Stretching part of the First Amendment to make it not just the FIRST amendment but the PRIMARY RIGHT. PS. Wonder how he’s going to handle such things as female circumcision and other “religious freedom” rights?)

  • WUSRPH

    Some more Facts that Trump will claim as his:

    America’s labour market: Good
    recovery

    Average wages in America grew by 2.9% in December, the
    final full month of the Obama presidency. The timing is frustrating for
    the outgoing president. If pay-cheques swell in 2017, Donald Trump will
    claim the credit, even though wage growth began picking up in 2015.
    During the campaign, Mr Trump cast doubt on official labour-market
    statistics. Next year he will probably champion them,
    (The Economist)

  • PrattonTexas

    “Local protections”? Protections for whom? These so-called protections prevent property and business owners from setting their own rules on their property.

    • WUSRPH

      I gather you don’t believe in public occupancy laws either.

    • BCinBCS

      These so-called protections prevent property and business owners from setting their own rules on their property.

      So if the property or business owner decides not to go to the expense of providing restrooms, I suppose that they can set a rule on their own property for patrons to relieve themselves in the alley behind the business?

    • José

      It’s funny how conservatives talk so big about the ideal of government working best at the local level, where it’s closest to the people that it affects. And then they so conveniently toss that idea aside whenever they want to impose their personal values on someone else. Oh, Robert…

      I’m not a lawyer but my reading of the proposed legislation is that it would prohibit any innovative and efficient public restroom design that combines unisex access and perfectly good security. But that’s what can happen when you elect an arrogant moralist who loves headlines and doesn’t care squat about the people who don’t heel to his call.

  • WUSRPH

    “Changed nothing”….when you are as much of a megalomaniac as The Donald you just cannot admit that anyone or anything might be responsible for you success but yourself…….I wonder if he has ever said “Thank you” to anyone and meant it.

  • John Bernard Books

    VP Biden signaled an end to the dem party saying “it is over”
    “Jayapal attempted to debate again, only to once again be stopped dead by Biden’s gavel. “There is no debate,” he said again. “If there’s not signed by a senator, then the objection cannot be entertained.” Only then did Jayapal admit that there was no senator’s signature on her objection.
    “It is over,” said Biden.
    House Speaker Paul Ryan, sitting just behind Biden erupted into laughter, followed by laughs and applause by the Republican side. With Biden’s gavel, and Ryan’s laugh, the government has officially acknowledged that Donald Trump will be President of the United States.”
    http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/01/06/it-is-over-biden-stops-cold-house-democrat-attempts-to-keep-trump-from-office/

    and the world laughs at the dems…..

  • WUSRPH

    “Only stupid people don’t want a good relationship with Russia”… For once, Trump says something that almost makes sense…..BUT the question is not whether we want a good relationship with Russia but on what terms. Do we want it on their terms- if that means we accept their dominance over their neighbors no matter what the neighboring states may say about it? Do we ignore their attempts to. “influence” the elections and domestic affairs of other nations’, including us? Do we expect that kind of behavior because they are strong and that is all The Donald respects in this world? Yes, Donald, we want good relations with Russia but no on your terms.

  • WUSRPH

    Now we know the Russian hacking of our elections is all the Democrats fault, according to The Donald. If wouldn’t not have happened if the DNC had done a better job of securing its computers. That makes us much sense as it is my fault if my home is burglarized since I didn’t make it a fortress.

  • John Bernard Books
    • St. Anger

      now that we all know you’re a russian troll, you can stop pretending to be a child.

      • WUSRPH

        You did see that the FBI/CIA/NSA intelligence community report did say that the Russians paid trolls to enter stuff on social media. Wonder?

        • St. Anger

          i was joking of course. pretty sure the paid trolls must be more coherent.

          • WUSRPH

            I was too….but maybe they are that smart and he’s a false flag troll to distract us from the real ones…another joke.

          • John Bernard Books

            WASSUP you’re a lifelong paid dem troll…

          • SpiritofPearl

            The effect of acute Twinkie toxicity – textbook case.

  • SpiritofPearl
  • WUSRPH

    I can understand the desire to get moving and hit the ground running and all that kind of stuff….but what is Trump and the GOP’s big hurry about the appointments? Why are they pushing them thru so fast that the normal paperwork for background, checks, etc. have not been completed? We have already heard about trading in health industry stocks while writing health laws in Congress and the possibility of large scale plagiarism and foreclosing on thousands of senior citizens….Is there more we don’t know about and they don’t want us to know? I have a feeling it may not be so much what we don’t know that is important BUT what Trump doesn’t know. Not having any real contacts with many of these people prior to his election, he may have made his decision based on the snap of the moment approach he takes to most everything…and he may be concerned about things coming out now that he should have know before….Anyone remember “nannygate”?

  • BCinBCS

    I saw this and, after Friday’s intelligence finding of Russia’s meddling in our presidential election, thought it salient:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0eb567ac80688897ad7714cde24535525e4e567a913db5a06410023821216b48.jpg

    • WUSRPH

      The major difference—and an important one—is that Nixon’s “plumbers” and “direct tricksters”, etc. were Americans attacking the electoral process foe his domestic ends while the Trump case is a foreign power doing so for its ends. Both are serious….but foreign intervention is much more serious. Nixon could be dealt with thru or existing justice system. Putin cannot.

  • WUSRPH

    Any thoughts on the alleged decision by State Rep. D. Dukes NOT to resign as he had said she would? I tend to think she is angling for a better deal from the DA in which she would resign either without charges or only a low grade misdemeanor. All reports I have seen are that they have good evidence for a felony.

    • dave in texas

      I think you’re probably right about her angling for a better deal. For God’s sake Representative Dukes, just resign already. You’re an embarrassment.

      • St. Anger

        this is an instance where “identity politics” backfires.

        she has been opposed in recent democratic primaries … by white guys. so, she keeps winning, even though her reputation for corruption keeps growing.

        turns out, there can be cheats, charlatans, and liars of every race.

    • SpiritofPearl

      She is my rep, as are Cruz, Cornyn, and Williams. A sad collection of losers . . .

      • WUSRPH

        After Cruz and Abbott’s little stunt yesterday with Taiwan’s “president’ I wonder how long it will take for the word to go out to potential Chinese investors in projects in Texas to back off and put their money somewhere else.

        • SpiritofPearl

          Brown nosers.

    • John Bernard Books

      just say she’s a dem….we get it

  • WUSRPH

    I see where the TPPF is featuring “The Hon. Phil Gramm” at its next event….I guess they figure that enough time has passed that people have forgotten his role in setting up the conditions that brought on The Great Recession and his connections to the foreign bank that got “bailout” money that they can safely roll him out again.

    • BCinBCS

      I cannot imagine that fire has cooled sufficiently.

    • dave in texas

      It’s the TPPF. I doubt they even acknowledge that Gramm’s idiotic ideas were instrumental in causing the recession.

  • WUSRPH

    Now Trump’s taken on the role of National Drama Critic. You can say many things about Meryl Streep but OVERATED is not one of them. Poor guy has just got to start using some of that skin thickener or he will be spending two-thirds of his time tweeting responses to people who criticize him. On the other hand, maybe that would be good…..that way he won’t have the time to do anything harmful to the nation.

    • donuthin2

      I posted on another blog for Texas Fishing guys that Meryl Streep was both a very good actress and also very perceptive. OMG, the commenters are going crazy defending Trump against Hollywood. They totally deny all the issues she raised. I think I know the problem. And we are it as some famous philosopher once said. I don’t think we can get over it until “we” stop being the problem.

      • John Johnson

        The problem is that most Hollywood elitests know nothing more about what is going on than the ignorant people who Leno used to interview on a street corner about current events and history. They just all band together and find a platform and mic to draw attention to themselves and wait for the applause from their fellow thespians. I have no respect for them. They are phonies who simply play a roll and learn their lines well. Obama, if an actor, could win an academy award.

  • St. Anger

    is peeing still allowed in the bathroom?

    because i hear that is a problem for the GOPee now, too.

  • John Johnson

    All this foolishness does is make me that much more inclined to speak up and out at Patrick, Burton, Strickland, and others who advocate for making non-issues, major issues. It’s simply putting red meat in front of the hyenas they want to fire up and impress. It wastes time and takes away from the true major issues confronting us.

    The hypocrisy in all this revolves around how Patrick et al are screaming at the Feds to get out of Texas business and mind their own; while at the same time trying to yank control away from Texas cities and afford Austin the right to override the will of any given city’s voters.

    You don’t want drilling in your city. Tough…we know what is best for you. You want to decide for yourself how bathrooms are utilized. Tough…we know what is best for you. You want to pass a bond to build a stadium. Tough…you no longer get to decide.

    In Arlington, I am up close and personal with those in office. I can easily reach them, and easily broadcast my likes and dislikes over public neighborhood social website pages, and in public meetings. Isn’t this the way it is supposed to work?

    In Austin, I know who has their ears. It is not “we, the people”; it is Texans For Lawsuit Reform, Empower Texans and other special interests mega-providers. We individuals do not stand a chance against them. History will show that the vast majority of the time, they get exactly what they want.

    I know that Arlington is not going to roll over and play dead to this sort of intrusion, but having a city our size divided up into so many different state districts makes it difficult to wage a battle. Look at the districting map…there are fingers running through our city everywhere.

    The system is broken; the system is antiquated. We need to flush and start over again.

    • BCinBCS

      Well said, JJ.

      • John Johnson

        Thanks