In late votes, transgender bathroom bill, 10 others sent to House

In a flurry of votes that extended beyond midnight, the Texas Senate gave final approval to almost a dozen bills early Wednesday, including legislation cracking down on transgender-friendly bathroom policies.

Most of the bills, which received initial Senate approval Monday and Tuesday, were sent to the House with little or no debate in about a half-hour of action.

One exception was Senate Bill 3, which seeks to bar public schools and local governments from adopting policies that would let transgender people use restrooms, locker rooms and changing rooms that correspond with their gender identity.

“This bill will end up harming children who are vulnerable to being bullied (and) ostracized,” said Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo.

SB 3 was given final approval, as was Senate Bill 10, which would require stricter reporting of abortion complications. Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, called it another case of abortion-related “bureaucratic bullying,” saying there was no threat to health or safety that needed to be addressed.

Democrats also spoke against a bill to bar state and local governments from allowing for automatic payroll deductions to pay for union dues for teachers, jailers, Child Protective Services caseworkers and other government employees — although unions serving police, firefighters and emergency workers would be exempt under Senate Bill 7.

In addition, Republicans turned aside a Democratic attempt to amend Senate Bill 1, which would require automatic elections to approve property tax increases of 4 percent or more, by allowing local voters to opt in to the bill’s requirements.

In addition to approving SB 1 and 7, senators gave final approval to:

• SB 2, providing money for private school tuition for students with disabilities.

• SB 9, capping government spending to population growth times inflation.

• SB 11, requiring specific patient approval for hospital do-not-resuscitate orders.

• SB 16, creating commission to study and recommend improvements to public school finance.

• SB 17, extending a commission to study the state’s high rate of pregnancy-related deaths.

• SB 19, providing a bonus for teachers and a boost to Teacher Retirement System benefits.

• SB 73, requiring stricter reporting of abortions for minors.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Happy birthday: Co-workers buy car for fellow employee 
Happy birthday: Co-workers buy car for fellow employee 

A Michigan man will never forget his 19th birthday, thanks to the generosity of his co-workers, WJRT reported. Noah Robinson had been riding his bicycle to work from Saginaw to Kochville Township, pedaling the 6 ½ miles in 45 minutes regardless of the weather conditions. He works in the shipping department at Glastender and lives with his...
Indiana boy carves wooden toys for needy children
Indiana boy carves wooden toys for needy children

A 10-year-old Indiana boy is building toys from scratch to help children in need enjoy the holiday season, WISH reported. Zander Hite of Greenwood took the advice of his grandfather, Darl Hite, who gave the boy a $20 bill last winter and told him to make a difference this holiday season. Zander bought two slabs of wood to build toy cars, WISH...
Former Washington State high school employee accused of rape
Former Washington State high school employee accused of rape

A former employee at a Washington State high school was charged Thursday afternoon with allegedly raping a 15-year-old student. Kristal M. Gamble, 33, was employed as an office assistant at Kent Meridian High School when she allegedly initiated an illegal sexual relationship with a boy last spring. According to Detective Melanie Robinson...
Drug-filled drone crashes at Arizona prison
Drug-filled drone crashes at Arizona prison

A drone crashed at an Arizona prison in September, and officials found drugs and cellphones aboard the vehicle, The Arizona Republic reported.  The drone crashed in a yard accessible only to corrections officers. The Arizona Department of Corrections said Thursday it is still trying to determine who was behind the delivery Sept. 24 delivery...
Cleveland zoo shows off new otter pups
Cleveland zoo shows off new otter pups

Three male otter pups made their public debut at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on Friday, WKYC reported. Zoo officials said the pups were born on Sept. 24 to Bitzy and Kibble. Baby otters are born with their eyes closed and need a few weeks to learn how to swim, meaning they'll be ready to join their parents, Bitzy and Kibble, on exhibit in The...
More Stories