Texas 'bathroom bill' passes panel, goes to State Senate for a vote

AUSTIN, TX -- The controversial "bathroom bill" has been passed by the Senate panel and continues to the State Senate.

There were 7 ayes and 1 nay.

The hearing for the "bathroom bill" went early into Wednesday morning as they heard testimony.

Over 400 people volunteered to give testimony on this controversial bill.

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The proposal would require transgender people to use public bathrooms that correspond with the sex on their birth certificates.

The bill would require transgender people to use public bathrooms that correspond with the sex on their birth certificate. But unlike in North Carolina, where the law known as HB2 passed a year ago with broad Republican support, the Texas bill has split conservatives and faces a tougher road.

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Republican House Speaker Joe Straus again made clear he has little appetite for the bill, even if it does clear the Senate. On top of that, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott hasn't given a public endorsement.

"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.

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.

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