Texas law enforcement leaders call ‘bathroom bill’ unnecessary, harmful


Law enforcement leaders from across Texas — including Austin interim Police Chief Brian Manley — gathered at the state Capitol on Tuesday to warn that so-called “bathroom bills” under debate in the Legislature will sap police resources if any of them become law and could lead to an increase in crime.

The proposals to require transgender people to use public bathrooms that match the gender listed on their birth certificates won’t solve any existing crime problem or bring any criminal-justice benefits to Texas, the law enforcement officials said.

“Instead, it could in fact jeopardize the safety of many in our community,” Manley said, joined with top police officials from Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso and other cities.

Victims advocates and some elected officials, including Austin Mayor Steve Adler, also attended the event on the south steps of the Capitol to voice opposition to the proposed bathroom restrictions.

Inside, the state Senate spent much of Tuesday debating Senate Bill 3, one of the proposed bathroom bills.

“This bill will make the job of law enforcement more difficult,” Manley said. “When we’re combating challenges across the community, pulling police officers’ time from combating violent crime into enforcing a bathroom bill, it makes the community less safe.”

He and others said laws already are on the books to address assaults that take place in public bathrooms.

Texas business and tourism leaders held a similar event at the Capitol last week to voice opposition to the proposed bathroom legislation, calling it unnecessary and discriminatory. Passing the measures will hamper the ability of businesses to attract talented workers, they said, and could lead to cancellation of high-profile conferences, meetings and sporting events.

A number of major employers with Texas ties — including Round Rock-based Dell Technologies, IBM, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, AT&T, BNSF Railway, Texas Instruments, Kimberly-Clark and Tenet Healthcare — have come out against the proposed bathroom legislation.

Advocates for a bathroom bill - including Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, both Republicans - say the legislation is needed to protect women and girls from men who could prey upon them in women’s bathrooms.

A spokesperson for Abbott did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

Patrick spokesman Alejandro Garcia noted that Houston voters repealed an anti-discrimination ordinance in 2015 — which is similar to the type of ordinance SB 3 would prohibit cities from enacting — and said “no increase in policing costs as a result of that (repeal) vote have been reported.”

In addition to prohibiting certain anti-discrimination ordinances, however, SB 3 also would mandate that public restrooms be “designated for and used only by persons of the same sex as stated on a person’s birth certificate.”

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who formerly served as Austin’s chief, said Tuesday that in his career in law enforcement, he hasn’t encountered the problem of men dressing up as women to commit assault in women’s public restrooms.

“We have yet to find anything that this will prevent,” Acevedo said.

Adler delivered opening remarks at Tuesday’s event, calling the bill “a horrible solution to a non-existent problem,” as well as a potential “self-inflicted wound of mammoth proportions.”

“It’s unnecessary. It poses economic risk for Austin and the state of Texas. It does nothing to protect women, public safety, and in fact, this bill would make us less safe,” Adler said. “The bathroom bill is discriminatory — plain and simple.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Man dead, child critically injured in East Austin crash, EMS says
Man dead, child critically injured in East Austin crash, EMS says

A man in his 20s died in an accident on FM 969 Saturday morning that also left a child with life-threatening injuries, Capt. Darren Noak of the Austin-Travis County EMS said. The child with the critical injuries and another child were taken by an ambulance to Dell Children’sMedical center, while two adults in their 50s were taken to Dell Medical...
Highs in the upper 90s expected for Memorial Day weekend in Austin
Highs in the upper 90s expected for Memorial Day weekend in Austin

It will be a sunny and hot Memorial Day weekend in Austin, starting off Saturday with a high temperature of 99 degrees and a heat index of 104, according to the National Weather Service. Highs will stay in the upper 90s through the holiday on Monday, so stay safe and keep hydrated if you are spending time outdoors. At night, the temperature will fall...
Community news: CodeNext hearings scheduled for Tuesday, Saturday

TRAVIS COUNTY DOWNTOWN AUSTIN CodeNext hearings scheduled The city of Austin is considering a comprehensive revision to the Land Development Code, called CodeNext, and the City Council will host public hearings at 10 a.m. Tuesday and Saturday at City Hall, 301 W. Second St. The code affects what, where and how much can be built in Austin. It covers...
Where to honor those who gave their all
Where to honor those who gave their all

No matter where you are in Central Texas, there will be a place nearby to remember those who died while serving the country’s armed forces. The following are among the places to go this Memorial Day weekend: TRAVIS COUNTY West Austin: World War II close assault re-enactments at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday at Camp Mabry, 2200 W. 35th St. East Austin...
PolitiFact: Death penalty is now only for those 18 and older
PolitiFact: Death penalty is now only for those 18 and older

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling keeps the 17-year-old who has admitted being the shooter at Santa Fe High School from facing the death penalty because he’s not 18. Still, a meme brought to our attention by readers suggests Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who is white, is getting some type of special treatment. It contrasts his case with that of an African-American...
More Stories