State lawmakers return to Austin this week for the special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott.
One of the hot button topics up for debate is the "bathroom bill."
“Another way to avoid a patchwork quilt of conflicting local regulations is for Texas to establish a single statewide rule protecting the privacy of women and children,” said Abbott.
Both the Senate and House passed different versions of the controversial legislation during the regular session, but the issue died after a stalemate.
The bill is something Pearland mom, Kimberly Shappley, will be watching closely.
Her daughter, 6-year-old Kai Shappley, is a transgender student attending Pearland ISD.
“They informed me that Kai would have to use the boy’s restroom initially, which is now changed and she can use the nurse’s restroom,” said Shappley. “Discrimination is not ok. That’s one of the things about being in America that we’re pretty adamant about, that discrimination is wrong no matter who you are discriminating against.”
If conservative leadership gets its way, transgender people would be required to use restrooms, locker rooms, and showers that match the sex on their birth certificate.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has been the issue’s top proponent.
Patrick’s press secretary, Alejandro Garcia, sent the following statement about the bathroom bill on Sunday:
“Privacy protection is a common sense public safety policy that will require government entities to designate separate restrooms, locker rooms and showers for men and women and boys and girls. The policy has already been supported by voters in Houston and it now has the support of the majority of Texans in every demographic group and both political parties. Lt. Governor Patrick intends to pass it out of the Senate during the Special Session just as he did during the regular session and he hopes the leadership in the Texas House will finally allow it to come to the floor for a vote.”
However, Shappley says the bill is a waste of time and money, which only harms the people it affects.
“As they continue to push this bathroom bill, they’re increasing the risk of suicide among the transgender community, especially our youth,” she said. “There are kids in school who are transgender, but the other students don’t know they are. For those people who can’t speak up, that’s why those of us who can…we have to make sure we do.”
Governor Abbott has asked lawmakers in the house and senate to craft bathroom bills for the special session.
They’ll have 30 days to come to an agreement on this issue or the legislation could die again.