Introduced by Rep. Ron Simmons (R), House Bill 2899 would block all counties, cities, and school districts in Texas from being able to enact or enforce restroom policies that protect transgender people. The measure would negate protections that are already in place in cities including Austin, which already has protections for transgender people in place.
In addition to having expected support from transgender nemesis Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Governor Greg Abbott is also supporting the new measure. Abbott took to twitter on Tuesday to express his willingness to sign the bill.
On Thursday, transgender residents and parents packed the state’s Capitol to voice their opposition to the proposed bill. 72 people also testified with 66 of them coming out against it. Many parents of transgender children were fearful that the bill would further incite hate groups.
Frank Gonzales testifies against HB 2899 at 1:45 AM in the morning with his daughter Libby in his arms. (Photo: Sam DeGrave/ texasobserver.org)
Many lawmakers are also opposing the bill. House Speaker Joe Strauss (R), has said the issue is not a priority. “If we’ve gotten to the point in our civilization, in our society, that our politicians have to pass bills about bathroom stuff … I mean, we’ve gotten really out of control,” he told the Texas Tribune back in March “For it to get this much attention in a legislative session is astounding to me.”
It was in March that SB6, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s anti-transgender bill passed the Texas Senate. The measure would prevent transgender people from using public and government facilities that align with their gender identity, but lawmakers seemed content with letting it stall in committee after seeing the devastation such a bill caused in North Carolina (HB2). It is already estimated that Texas would lose over $3 billion a year should they actually pass such a bill.