HOUSTON - At a press conference at the state capitol, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick assured the public there’s no backlash in the Lone Star State.
No businesses pulling out or sporting events canceled, like in North Carolina as of late.
Patrick is pushing forward Senate Bill 6. Patrick says the "Privacy Protection Act" is a top priority for the GOP-controlled Legislature, which convenes next week. He referenced the H.E.R.O. ordinance and how voters struck it down in Houston.
“And by the way, the economic doom? I’m not aware of any business that didn’t move to Houston because of that bill. The Super Bowl is teed up for 5:30 p.m. for Feb. 7 in Houston,” Patrick said. “No government will be allowed to tell businesses what to do. It protects children in public school and everyone that uses a public restroom, shower or locker.”
Patrick said the Texas Privacy Act, if passed, will require people to use the restroom based on the gender they were born as, in businesses, government buildings and public schools.
In Houston, those opposed to it, which included some business owners, the LGBT community and even state leaders, sounded off.
“This is just an unnecessary job-killing bathroom bill that targets the very kids that we need to protect,” said State Senator Sylvia Garcia.
One student in particular, Kai Shappley, a transgender kindergarten student in Pearland ISD, has been in headlines lately. The district requires her to use a separate bathroom for now. Her mother, Kimberley Shappley, spoke out Thursday, while holding her daughter’s picture.
“I'm asking you to have empathy for this little girl. She is a Texan. She is just like every one of us here,” Shappley said.
In Austin, the bill’s co-author, Senator Lois Kolkhorst, said the real issues are privacy and safety.
“Ask a parent if they approve of allowing boys to shower in their daughter’s locker room or vice versa,” Kolkhurst said.
In Houston, the local LGBT community had a message for Patrick and Kolkhurst. Reagan White, a transgender woman took to the podium.
“Like you and many up here sir, we are homeowners, we are parents and we are voters…and we will not forget next election season,” White said.