Final Push for and against bathroom Bill

- The Texas capitol was buzzing with activity Monday morning. Visitors like Adriana Perez and her two kids who are visiting from Florida scurried about under the Dome.

They're trying to squeeze in the last few days of summer vacation before the start of a new school year.

"They start next Monday, some people already started this week,” said Perez with her kids adding they are both dreading the first day of class.

State lawmakers in the House and Senate are also counting the days. Time is winding down on the special session which ends at the stroke of midnight Wednesday.

As a result, time is also running out on one of the most controversial items in the special session call, the bathroom bill. With that in mind, those who support and oppose the legislation made one last push.

"Stop telling lies to justify passing the laws that discriminate against people simply because of who they are,” said Kathy Miller with the Texas Freedom Network.

State Lawmaker, Rep. Tom Oliverson, ( R ) Houston defended attempts to regulate access to restrooms.

"We are not attempting to be discriminatory with this legislation, rather we are attempting to move the conversation back to where it belongs, the debate of what should be a protected class needs to happen at the state rather than  the local level,” said Oliverson.

The dueling events Monday included prayers to spur action in the house- and a delivery of petitions to keep buried any legislation that will regulate access to restrooms or school locker room based on a person's gender at birth. Both sides Monday also offered up personal pleas for their cause.

"These bills are about attempting to limit the ability of Transgender people to fully participate and navigate in public life, how is a transgender individual expected to get an education or to look for work if they are prohibited from doing something as simple and as commonplace as using the restroom,” said Stephanie Martinez who is a transgender woman from San Antonio.

A longtime supporter of the Texas Privacy Act is a young girl from Dripping Springs, by the name of Shiloh. She and her father explained their support is only based on safety.

"I would just feel very uncomfortable and so I think they should take this under consideration and let the House vote, and help me and protect me,” said Shiloh.

Jonathan Saenz with Texas Values, presented endorsement letters from church leaders and also pointed to a recent poll. It showed that the majority of republicans who responded said they do not support allowing men to use women's restrooms.

"And the support continues to grow, daily and the issue will continues to be relevant we will be continuing to work on this issue to the last moment,” said Saenz.

Transgender advocates counter that claim by saying; the 50,000 people who signed their petition can’t be ignored.

"Let’s let Texas families enjoy the rest of this summer, it’s time to stop playing politics with people's lives,” said Marty Rouse with the Human Rights Campaign.

The summer debate could extend into the fall. Supporters of the bathroom bill say if time runs out - they will urge Governor Abbott to call another special session.
 

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