Lawmakers zero in on 'bathroom' bill and marijuana in Austin

AUSTIN, TX (KTRK) -- Later this morning, the 85th Texas Legislature begins its session in Austin.

One piece of legislation already getting a lot of attention is Senate Bill 6, known as the Woman's Privacy Act.

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It's called the 'Women's Privacy Act,' but opponents say it's not about woman at all.

The so-called "bathroom bill" gets right to the heart of the debate we've seen across the country over transgender rights and privacy.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a top social conservative voice in the state, unveiled the proposed law last Thursday at a news conference.

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Lawmakers are expected to approve the measure, even though Texas' largest business lobbying group says it and other anti-gay rights proposals could cost the state up to $8.5 billion and 100,000-plus jobs.

The measure is just one of 10 priorities Texas Republicans have set forth for the 85th session.

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Governor Abbott shares his plans for the state of Texas in 2017.

Republican leaders are also proposing more property tax reform, ending the practice of sanctuary cities, and legislation that offers parents the option to send their children to any school they wish.

Other priorities include strengthening penalties for teachers caught in relationships with their students, and fighting to ban partial birth abortions.

Marijuana activists are also closely watching a slew of bills that would decriminalize its use, create a specialty court for first-time marijuana possession offenders, and reduce criminal penalties for its possession.

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Lone Star State legislators have submitted several proposals to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

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