Groups gather at Texas Capitol to oppose bathroom privacy bill

Women business leaders and mothers gathered to oppose the bathroom bill while Representatives debated an abortion bill.

AUSTIN - Two separate groups gathered at the Texas Capitol Wednesday to oppose Senate Bill 3 and House Bill 46, bills that address bathroom privacy. 

Senate Bill 3 (SB3) by Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) would require people use multiple occupancy bathrooms, showers and locker rooms according to the sex on their birth certificate or state issued ID in state and city owned buildings and in public and charter schools. The bill also prohibits cities and schools from creating policies regulating restrooms. 

House Bill 46 by Representative Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton) prohibits cities and schools from making their own policies regulating restrooms, but makes no mention of sex or gender. 

During a rally to support the bills last week, Senator Kolkhorst told the crowd her bill is intended to keep women and children safe. She went on to say women tell her they support the cause and she has not had a women come up to to her and say bathroom privacy is a non-issue.  

Tuesday morning, a group of women who are business leaders, faith leaders and mothers gathered outside the Capitol to tell lawmakers they don't believe there is a need for bathroom  privacy legislation. 

The women said the bills are discriminatory toward transgender Texans, will make it harder to recruit talent to their companies and are unnecessary because there are already laws in place to protect people in restrooms. 

"As a woman, a mother and a Christian, I object to being used as an excuse for bad legislation that law enforcement officers have said will not improve public safety,"  said Belinda Matingou, Regional Executive Director of the Texas Association of Business.

A few hours later, members of the Texas Travel Industry Association (TTIA) came to the Capitol to speak against SB 3. The business owners say the bill will cast Texas as an unfriendly place to visit and do business.

“The Texas Travel Industry Association is the curator of Texas hospitality, and we oppose legislation that is contrary to our mission of welcoming and treating all visitors as guests,” said David Teel, President and CEO of the TTIA. “Such legislation has the potential to harm the more than 1 million Texans who rely on the travel and hospitality industry. This legislation decreases the attractiveness of Texas to event planners and other potential visitors to our state.”

The group also brought renowned economist Dr. Ray Perryman, who studied the potential economic impact, to speak on the bill. Perryman noted he does not take a position on legislation but explained he was hired to study the potential impact. Click here to read Dr. Perryman's study

Dr. Perryman said through his research, he estimates a bathroom bill will cost Texas $3.3 billion a year and 36,000 full time jobs. He said that is a conservative estimate and the number will likely increase the longer a bathroom law is in place.  

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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