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Texas bathroom bill could expose secrets of transgender kids

23 May 2017

I felt like last night, we passed a measure that was thoughtful, genuine, common sense and met the needs of both sides. She spoke on the condition that her son's name would not be used. The amendment requires students to use the bathroom of their biological gender in schools.

The legislation "really boxes in school systems", said Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, a spokeswoman for the national transgender rights organization Trans Equality. Supporters revived it late Sunday, advancing a proposal applying only to the state's public schools, which educate about 5.3 million students. That's the second-largest number in the U.S. after California.

Texas Republicans have been pushing an aggressive agenda despite promised court challenges, including legislation that would let police ask drivers whether they're in the US legally, restrict what school bathrooms transgender students can use, ban most second-trimester abortions and let adoption agencies reject gay couples over religious objections.

Texas Republicans have been pushing an aggressive agenda despite the promise of court challenges, with time running out to get bills to GOP Gov. Greg Abbott's desk. With the end of the legislative session set for May 29, House Republicans sought an alternative route.

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"I don't see a path forward for House Bill 21 at this point", said Rep. Gary VanDeaver, a New Boston Republican who serves on the House Public Education Committee. Strays says that it could hurt a Texas economy that has been among the country's strongest in recent years. Just after midnight Monday, the Texas Senate scrapped much of a House plan to revise how the state funds education, replacing it with a controversial school voucher program for children with disabilities.

Some lawmakers initially anxious that "bathroom bill" legislation would draw boycotts similar to the ones that have cost North Carolina billions, but they're more comfortable with an amendment strictly focused on schools. It included measures allowing bathroom vigilantes to file complaints with the Texas Attorney General's Office if they saw "men in women's restrooms", and the AG would actually use law-enforcement resources to investigate the jurisdiction and see if it had an illegal non-discrimination ordinance in place, such as the failed Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

Currently, each school and school district determines how to handle students whose birth genders are secret.

The bill likely to make the most movement on the school funding formula is Senate Bill 2144, which would create a 15-member commission to study how best to change or rewrite the state's school funding formula before the 2019 session. Larry Taylor, the Friendswood Republican who sponsored the bill.

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Taylor stripped the bill of several of the original tweaks from the House that were meant to either simplify the funding formulas or allocate money to specific student groups - he said they would cost too much money.

"This is like the camel with its nose under the tent", said Dallas Democratic Sen.

"Call it what you will" Taylor replied.

After threatening to force a special session of the Texas Legislature unless lawmakers approve a "bathroom bill" and property tax legislation, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Monday appeared to be unconvinced by the House's actions on the two issues.

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