AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) --A North Carolina-style "bathroom bill" in Texas won preliminary approval Tuesday in the state Senate over the objections of big businesses, including Amazon and American Airlines, celebrities such as Lady Gaga and warnings from the NFL and NBA.
There were 21 ayes and 10 nays.
The bill would require transgender people to use public bathrooms that correspond with the sex on their birth certificate. But unlike in North Carolina, the Texas bill has split conservatives and faces a tougher road.
The proposal would next need the OK from the House - where powerful Republican speaker Joe Straus says he has no appetite for the bill he has likened to a job-killer. Straus has stopped short of declaring the bill dead on arrival but his public and repeated denouncements are significant.
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"They have their agenda, we have ours," Straus said.
Straus stopped short of declaring the bill dead on arrival with three months of lawmaking still remaining in Texas. But he has repeatedly denounced it as bad for the Texas economy, while standing with corporate opponents that include Google, Amazon, American Airlines, Microsoft, Intel and Hilton.
The National Football League and National Basketball Association have also said that passing the bill could give them second thoughts about bringing big events, such as the Super Bowl and All-Star game, back to Texas.
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The hazy future of the bill prompted Senate Republicans to launch a new campaign this week with religious leaders to drum up more conservative support. They also flew in North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who championed his state's bathroom bill and accused the media of creating a false picture of economic upheaval.
The NCAA canceled seven championship events in North Carolina after HB2 passed, PayPal canceled expansion plans and then-Gov. Pat McCrory lost his re-election race to a Democrat in a state otherwise controlled by Republicans. Forest told Texas lawmakers his state was on an economic rebound and claimed that North Carolina landing the 2018 World Equestrian Games will offset the NBA and NCAA pulling out.
"They don't want to tell our narrative. They want to tell the narrative of our opposition," Forest said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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