The so called 'Bathroom Bill,' which is supported by movement and evangelical conservatives and opposed by seemingly everybody else, appears to be dead in the current Special Session of the Legislsture, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The man who drove a stake through its heart, just as in the Regular Session, was State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) who heads the House State Affairs Committee.
Cook says he will not hold a hearing on the bill, which means it will not get a vote in his committee."It really doesn't solve any problems," Cook said of the proposal. "We have laws on the books now that take care of any kinds of crimes in bathrooms, law enforcement has come out and told us the same thing and verified that."
The Bathroom Bill, dubbed by its sponsors as the Texas Privacy Act, would restrict the use of rest rooms in public buildings and schools to the gender on the indivdiual's birth certificate.
Supporters say sexual predators would use the loophold in local 'Non Discrimination Ordinances,' which allow transgender individuals to use the bathroom that matches their 'gender identity,' to claim to be transgender so they can enter women's rest rooms and sexually assault, molest, photograph, or simply creep out the women and girls in there.
Opponents say any sex crimes, committed in bathrooms as anywhere else, are currently prohibited by law, and the proposal would not be effective barring a 'bathroom cop' at the door checking user's birth certificates. They point out that crimes in bathrooms are exceedingly rare, and LGBT groups say transgender indivdiuals use the rest room of their gender identity all the time, and with stalls and dividers, others in the rest room seldom even notice.
"It continues in my mind to be a distraction from major issues in this state that we need to address," Cook said.
The bill has been a major object of opposition from business and tourism groups, which say it sends an 'exclusionary' message that would damage the state's business climate, cause conventions and major events to avoid the state, and would cost Texas billions of dollars in unnecessarily lost revenues.
Supporters of the bill dispute those numbers, but say, in any case, that the 'safety of women and girls in rest rooms' is more important than money.
Texas State Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton), who is the House sponsor of the bill, concedes that its outlook is dim, especially with just seven days left in the Special Session.Simmons says the only hope is to tack the 'Bathroom Bill' onto another piece of legislation."An education bill comes through or government bill comes through, you might be able to amend my bill onto that, that would give us some protection," he said.