On Tuesday Texas lawmakers will debate one of the most controversial bills currently on the table, the so called “Bathroom Bill”. However, first they’re hearing testimony from those on both sides of the issue, many of whom made the trip to Austin from Houston.
Early Tuesday morning members of Houston’s GLBT Political Caucus boarded a bus bound for the State House. The caucus’ president, Fran Watson, will be among many providing testimony to lawmakers.
“We've just been waiting for a date,” said Watson. “Discrimination is not a value in Texas and it is not right to single out Texans.”
The bill is championed by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and would require people to use public bathrooms based on their sex at birth.
On Monday North Carolina’s LT. Governor Dan Forest, stood beside Patrick at a press conference, Forest helped pass a similar law in his state.
“What we are talking about is the rights of women,” Forest said. “Were talking about the rights of children. This is an issue about privacy and safety and protection for all people.”
However, critics say safety has never been an issue.
“This bill is not about men going into women's restrooms, This bill is about discriminating. This bathroom bill is unnecessary,” said Watson.
Critics also worry about the economic impact as after the bill passed in NC the NBA All-Star Game pulled out and PayPal decided not to expand. These are economic concerns that the bill’s supporters say are unwarranted.
“The stories of any negative economic impact are just false narrative,” said Lt. Governor Patrick.
“We are creating jobs,” added Forest. “We've gone from about 9% unemployment down to about 4.5% unemployment.”