Now that it appears likely that the controversial 'Bathroom Bill' will be defeated by the Special Session of the Legislature, supporters are calling on Gov. Abbott to call a second special session to reconsider the measure, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Approval of the bill that would overturn local 'Non Discrimination Ordinances' which allow transgender individuals to use the bathroom that matches their 'gender identity' was rendered impossible by a decision by the House leadership to kill it in the House State Affairs Committee, which was the same fate it met in the regular session.
But Jonathan Saenz, an attorney who heads a group called 'Texas Values,' released the results of a poll showing that not supporting the 'Bathroom Bill' today could result in many GOP lawmakers losing their jobs in the March primary.
"Over 78% of survey results from Texas primary voters show they support legislation that keeps men from using women's bathrooms," Saenz said.
The bill which quickly passed the State Senate, would limit bathroom use to the gender on the user's birth certificate. Supporters say sexual predators will pose as transgenders to gain access to women's rest rooms to sexually assault, photograph, or harass women and girls.
State Representative Tom Oliverson (R-Houston) said the bill also preserves the basic rights of women, rights which have been guaranteed by Congressional action dating back to the 1960s, but now risk being overturned by local 'NDO's'
"Those who are protected from discrimination should be protected everywhere, not just in random places around the state," Oliverson said. "But by continuing to allow this practice, we weaken the state's ability to clearly say which individuals and which groups should be protected from discrimination."
One of the reasons that the Bathroom Bill has now been defeated twice in the Legislature is the opposition of a broad coalition of business and tourism organizations who have expressed concerns that approval of a 'discriminatory' bill will result in conventions and special events leaving the state and companies refusing to expand in Texas.
Dave Welch of the Texas Pastor Council says such 'bullying' is unacceptable.
"We will not kowtow and bow the knee to corporate threats, who are demanding that if we don't yield the privacy and safety or our women and children, that somehow we will be punished," he said.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is a major backer of the Bathroom Bill, has told 1200 WOAI that if pressure from outside groups and businesses succeed in killing the bill, they would be emboldened to threaten Texas over other issues.
"What's next?" Patrick asked. "Colleges saying they won't participate in sporting events in Texas unless we repeal 'Campus Carry'?"
Gov. Abbott has not commented on the failure of the Bathroom Bill, or indicated whether a second special session may be a possibility.