87th Texas Legislature

Controversial Transgender Sports Bill Could Get House Vote

The legislation was revived in a House committee Saturday and has already passed in the Senate

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A bill that would prevent transgender students from playing sports with children of a different sex than the one on their birth certificates moved a step closer on Saturday to getting a vote in the Texas House.

Senate Bill 29 initially failed to move forward in the House Public Education Committee, but NBC 5's media partner The Dallas Morning News reported Saturday that committee chair Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) brought the bill back up for a committee vote, after one of his own bills didn’t advance. This time the bill passed the House committee.

It has already passed the Senate and now could get a full vote on the House floor.

“These bills that target transgender Texans, especially that target kids, have no place in the Texas legislature,“ Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Rep. Chris Turner (D-Arlington) said.

Many Democrats and activists groups, like Equality Texas and Transgender Education Network of Texas, have spoken out against the bill.

“Hopefully, we can prevent that bill from coming to the House floor, because I think most members don’t want to have to deal with that kind of debate which is just so inherently ugly and hateful, so hopefully we won't see it,” Turner said.

Rep. Matt Shaheen (R-Plano), who co-authored the House version of the bill, said it’s about fairness and safety.

“We get emails, we get phone calls about it. I have a lot of constituents, really Texans throughout the state that want to protect women's sports," he said. "Again they have got daughters that are competing in high school sports and they want to have an opportunity for fair competition."

Shaheen said he was confident the bill would become law.

“It's important that we get this done and I have a high level of confidence that we will this legislative session,” Shaheen said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has indicated he would sign the bill if it reached his desk. The legislative session ends on May 31.

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