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Bathroom battle begins at Texas Legislature

The Great Texas Bathroom Battle of 2017 has begun.

On the second day of the 85th Legislature, state Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, proposed an amendment to House administration rules that would require people using bathrooms under the “jurisdiction of the House” to use the bathroom corresponding to their “biological sex.”

House Administration Committee Chairman Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, called a point of order, saying that the Capitol bathrooms are all managed by the State Preservation Board, meaning there are no bathrooms “under the jurisdiction of the House.”

After some discussion, Schaefer withdrew his proposal, and the House moved on.

The real bathroom battle will come from the Senate, where Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has made passing statewide legislation regulating bathroom use a top priority. If passed by the Senate, such a measure would face a lukewarm reception from the House, where Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, has said the issue will not be a priority for him.

Patrick has pitched the proposal as a way to keep men out of women’s restrooms, calling it the Women’s Privacy Act” Critics have said such measures are discriminatory against transgender people and will cause businesses to divest from the state, as they did when North Carolina adopted similar legislation.

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