Key House Republican calls bathroom bills a distraction


A key House Republican has written an online column that describes the transgender bathroom debate as a distraction built, in part, on “duplicitous grandstanding” by politicians.

The posting on the Texas GOP Vote website is significant because Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, is chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, which will handle legislation pertaining to transgender bathroom use.

“As the special session continues to unfold, I am disappointed that our great state is continuing to waste so much time over the ‘bathroom’ debate,” Cook wrote, saying the issue is a smokescreen threats facing rural communities and schools.

Cook went on to explain his position on the issue, saying he supports “legislation that limits admittance (based on gender at birth) to multi-stall bathrooms and locker rooms in our schools and requires local schools districts to develop single-stall bathroom policies for its transgender students.”

“Beyond clarifying this policy for our public schools, we already have strong laws in Texas against sexual predators. Therefore, I do not condone duplicitous grandstanding on this issue and/or discriminatory legislation; nor do I support laws that will adversely affect our state’s economy,” he wrote.

The Texas Senate gave final approval to Senate Bill 3 shortly after midnight Wednesday, sending the bill to an uncertain reception in the House, where Speaker Joe Straus has already announced sharp opposition to the issue.

The State Affairs Committee also has not set a hearing on two bills by Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton — House Bill 50, which would ban schools from adopting policies that extend anti-discrimination protection to bathroom, locker room and changing room use, and HB 46, which would extend that prohibition to local governments as well as schools.



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