Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick discussed the Trump administration's decision to reverse guidelines regarding bathroom access for transgender students in a wide-ranging interview Thursday with NBC 5 political reporter Julie Fine.
Patrick has been speaking out in favor of the Texas Privacy Act, known as Senate Bill 6. The bill says students must use the bathrooms that match the sex on their birth certificate. The same would go for Texas public buildings.
"We will establish a policy in the Senate that will say schools cannot have a policy that dictates boys and girls should use the same bathrooms and showers and locker rooms," Patrick said.
Patrick says he first discussed the issue with President Donald Trump last summer when Trump was campaigning for president.
"That is what the president told me last summer, when we first talked about this issue. It is a state's issue," Patrick said.
Members of the LGBTQ and business communities have raised concerns over Senate Bill 6, pointing to the state of North Carolina, which passed a so-called "bathroom bill" last year. NBC News cites a Charlotte Chamber of Commerce report, which said the state suffered a $285 million economic blow. Several businesses canceled expansions in the state, the NBA pulled its All-Star Game from Charlotte and several NCAA tournaments were canceled after the governor of North Carolina signed it into law.
Patrick responded to the business community's concerns.
The most they can find – the most they can find – if they extrapolate the numbers, is $75 to $200 million out of a half-trillion dollar economy, and they'll make those dollars up," Patrick said.
He added, "Do you put a price tag on your values? I mean, where do you stop? And, secondly, that was the first-time hit that events were canceled where dates could not be made up. This year, they will fill those dates."
The lieutenant governor also said he is once again pushing for a school choice bill in the Senate. This bill would offer education savings accounts for families to help pay for private school.
"We have a lot of great schools. Most of them are good, but we have some bad ones. You, as a parent, or anyone watching, should not be handcuffed to a bad school because that is the ZIP code you live in," Patrick said.
When asked about parents who are concerned the education savings account wouldn't cover all of the expenses and worry about money being taken out of public schools, Patrick said the bill would allocate dollars depending on the family's need.
"You will either get 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent, or 90 percent that your child gets in public school, depending on your need and if there is a disability," he said.