Proposed Transgender Bathroom Restrictions Might Only Apply to Texas Schools, Not Businesses and Sporting Venues

AUSTIN - Texas' controversial transgender bathroom bill will probably only apply to schools and won't impact private businesses or sporting venues, according to a new lawmaker who said she was familiar with the proposal.Incoming state Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Austin, told The Texas Tribune's Evan Smith that after conversations with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the bill that's he's writing will likely focus only on bathroom use at schools. "His focus is really the schools, and he's gonna -- my understanding is the businesses, the sporting venues, will not be affected by this law," Buckingham said during a conversation with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith. "His focus is really the bathrooms in the schools."When asked whether businesses and sports would definitely be exempt from, she added, "Well, we'll see what the language looks like, but it's my understanding that that's the intent -- to realize that there are some complicating factors there and our priorities are really the schools."Patrick has been the state's most vocal advocate of barring transgender people from using bathrooms that don't correspond to the "sex" noted on their birth certificates. He's traveled the state on the issue, criticizing and deriding school districts that have chosen to make accommodations for transgender students.But as he's framed his so-called "Women's Privacy and Business Protection Act" as a way to keep pedophiles and perverts out of ladies rooms, businesses have pushed back, calling it an unnecessary and discriminatory proposal that could hurt Texas' reputation and its economy to the tune of $8.5 billion.It's still a mystery what the final bill will say, since it hasn't been filed yet. But in a statement earlier this week, Patrick's spokesman said his legislation would assure "that businesses are not forced by local ordinances to allow men in women's restrooms and locker rooms." He's criticized the business community for "fear mongering" and added the Obama administration's decision to change public school rules for transgender students (which Texas is challenging in court) is to blame for this entire debate.  Continue reading...

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