Texas legislators flush through in-house 'bathroom bill' concerns

Bathroom legislation was up for debate on the second day of the 85th Texas Legislature.

AUSTIN, TEXAS - While the second day of the Texas Legislature is generally reserved for housekeeping measures, there was some excitement after a state representative tried to usher in rules for bathrooms.

As the House was working to approve its rules for the session, state Rep.Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) proposed an amendment that would require people in the Capitol to use restrooms based on their "biological sex."

Another representative quickly called a point of order, arguing the House doesn't regulate Capitol facilities and after some discussion, the amendment was withdrawn. 

Just a few hours later, leaders of national and state tourism organizations and bureaus gathered outside the Capitol to speak against Senate Bill 6, commonly known as the bathroom bill, saying it will cause a "multi-billion dollar disaster" for the state.

"This is not speculation. These are facts based on what we've seen first hand in North Carolina, Indiana and other states that have passed similar legislation," said Phillip Jones, president, and CEO of VisitDallas. 

The Texas Association of Business released a study, estimating up to 185,000 jobs will be lost if a bathroom bill is passed.

The proposed bill would require people to use the gender on their birth certificate when using bathrooms in government buildings and public schools and universities.

Supporters say it increases safety while opponents argue it discriminates against the transgender community.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, there was a bit of commotion over how many votes should be required for a bill to make it to the floor for a vote. 

During the last session, Senators changed the number of required votes from 21 to 19. Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) tried to restore the 21-vote rule but his amendment failed. Senators voted to keep the 19-vote rule. 

Both the House and Senate voted to adjourn until after the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and will return to the Capitol on  Tuesday, Jan. 17.

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