House hearing for 'bathroom bill' alternative

*Update 4/20* Lawmakers pulled an all nighter to debate the bill that's said to be a compromise of the controversial "bathroom bill".  Hundreds testified on both sides of the issue.


Up until a few days ago, supporters of the bathroom bill thought Texas House leaders would never allow any debate to take place on the controversial topic. However, it is believed a hearing will be held before the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday evening.

Read Texas' lieutenant governor renews defense of 'bathroom bill'

"Without question it’s probably the most talked about issue whether people like it or not, it’s something that has grown in importance, so I think it should be of no surprise that now the House is going to address this issue,” said Jonathan Saenz with Texas Values.

The hearing Wednesday is officially on HB 2899. 

Read Attempt fails to force Bathroom Bill debate

The single paged bill was originally drafted to prevent city councils and county commissions from expanding or reducing protections from discrimination. However, the Bill was modified to provide ground work for what’s some claim could be a compromise to SB6 - the Senate's bathroom bill.

"It’s appalling to suggest they have found a so called middle ground on discrimination, we either treat everyone in Texas equally or we don't. There is no middle ground on that,” said Kathy Miller with the Texas Freedom Network. At a Wednesday press briefing, those who oppose the legislation said there is a larger effort to target the transgender community.

Read Bathroom bill tentatively passes Senate floor

"It’s not about bathrooms, they say they're about bathrooms, it’s not about bathrooms, it’s never been about bathrooms, it is about animosity against transgender people, it is about dislike, misunderstanding, and prejudice against transgender people,” said Cathryn Oakley with the Human Rights Campaign.

Among those with this coalition of advocates was Rachel Gonzales. She has a transgender child.

"HB 2899 would remove my daughter's school ability to keep her safe. She is fully supported in her school has never had an issue, all of her educators and classmates support her, and should an issue arise in the future her school would be stripped of any ability to protect her,” said Gonzales.

Read Texas 'bathroom bill' advances after 13 hours of testimony

Supporters of the bathroom bills claim all they are doing is trying to protect women and school girls from predators. "Well it's very clear the number of incidents where people's privacy and safety is being violated in a bathrooms is growing, we've got a list of over two pages now that are adding up and these are Texas cases,” said Saenz.

In response to that, it’s argued there are existing laws on the books to deal while misbehavior in restrooms.

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