Bathroom bill tentatively passes Senate floor

Texas' Senate Bill 6, also known as the "bathroom bill," has tentatively passed on the Senate floor.

After more than four hours of discussion and amendments, the Senate took a vote but a final vote could come Wednesday.

It was just last week when the Senate Committee listened to several hours of testimony, with a majority coming from those who oppose.

That did not stop the bill from passing.

"This is a discriminatory bill and they won't admit it," says Lou Weaver who opposes SB6.

Weaver is a transgender man and uses the men's restroom. Now that the bathroom bill has tentatively passed, he worries that could change. It would require transgender people to use the restroom in government buildings, or schools, based on biological sex.

"If I have jury duty, what am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to navigate society when I have jury duty and I'm not allowed to go and use the restroom I need to in a government building?" says Weaver. 

That's an obstacle many who oppose, agree with. Despite opposition, SB 6 passed in the Senate during Tuesday's first vote 21 to 10. The author, Senator Lois Kohlkhorst, says it's a matter of protecting privacy.

"The heart and soul of this bill - for I think me as a woman - is the privacy, the safety, and security for all people. People who would have bad intentions, we can prevent them before they act upon them," says Senator Kolkhorst.

Senators who opposed, questioned Kolkhorst.

"You have to go through a lot of loops if you really want to go to a locker room or bathroom in a public school these days. Do you really think someone's going to really do that and put on a wig?" says State Senator Sylvia Garcia, (D) Houston.

"We spend a lot of time mentioning that this is a women's privacy issue. Are we ever going to talk about the privacy rights of transgender people?" says State Senator Jose Rodriguez, (D) El Paso.

The Senate will follow up with a final vote expected this week. Then it would move to the House. Weaver is hoping that's where it stops.

"If they're telling me I need to access spaces like the restroom based on what my birth certificate says, I have not been allowed in a women's restroom in so many years. Women didn't want me in their space," says Weaver.

The Texas Association of Business released an open letter Tuesday, revising the negative economic impact this bill would have. They lowered their amount by millions.
 

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