In a very rare 4:30 AM vote, the State Senate State Affairs Committee voted 8-1 early today to approve that controversial 'bathroom bill' and send it to the full Senate, which is also expected to approve it, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
All seven Republicans on the committee and Democrat Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville) voted for the bill. Only Democrat Judith Zafferine (D- Laredo) voted against it.
Jonathan Saenz, who heads the group Texas Values and is one of the leading supporters of the bill, technically known as S.B. 6, praised the vote.“
This vote passing SB 6 in committee is a reflection of the broad and comprehensive support for privacy and safety by business leaders, women’s groups, lawyers, parents, pastors and faith leaders, and education leaders including key superintendents for public schools.," Saenz said early Wednesday.
"We look forward to seeing SB 6 pass the full Senate and get one step closer to making sure that men and boys will not be entering girl’s bathrooms, showers and locker rooms in public schools and other government buildings.”
The bill will restrict the usage of public and school bathroom and locker rooms to the gender listed on the individual's birth certificate.
Supporters of the measure took great steps to debunk some of the dire predictions of economic doom which opponents have made leading up to today's vote.
State Sens. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) and Lois Kohlkorst (R-Brenham) cited similar predictions were made about the Houston economy while voters were considering whether to overturn that city's Council-approved Human Rights Ordinance, a vote which had much the same effect as S.B. 6.
"They said Houston would lose the Super Bowl, Houston would lose a Final Four, so I know it has been largely debunked," Kohlkorst said.
She says a Texas Association of Business study which predicted an economic loss of up to $8 billion a year if S.B. 6 passes was so badly flawed that St. Edwards University in Austin, which the T.B.C. cited for its statistics, has backed away from it.
"They said it was limited in scope and conducted by students, and was not intended to be and should not be used as the backgroup for a political advocay campaign."
Bettancourt said not only did Houston not lose the Super Bowl and the Final Four, its leisure and tourism industry is up substantially over the past year, tens of thousands of new jobs have been added to the Houston economy, and a group which ranks convention destinations says Houston's allure as a convention destination has not been tarnished by the vote.
S.B. 6 is expected to pass the full Senate, but it's future in the House is limited, and Speaker Joe Straus (D-Alamo Heights) has expected his reservations about it.