Even in a red state like Texas, a transgender bathroom law, known as Senate Bill 6, has caused a tremendous amount of controversy in the capital city of Austin. The state senate, led by Lt. Dan Patrick, is working to vote on the bill during the last week of July as the 30-day special session moves closer to ending.
The issue has sparked emotional debate on both sides of the aisle. The Texas senate Democrats voted almost entirely against the bill, with only one voting in favor.
However, things seemed to have stalled in the state house, where establishment Republican speaker Dan Patrick is refusing to move the bill through committee according to The New York Times.
The bill has become a somewhat sensitive topic in the Lone Star State. If passed, it would override city and county authority over the issue and require transgender individuals at public schools, government buildings, and public universities to use the restrooms of their biological sex after growing parental concerns about the nature of allowing anyone into a bathroom.
With growing pressure from left-wing advocacy group and progressive businesses, even the Republican-controlled state legislature seems to be caving.
The state house is considering a less-restrictive bill proposed by Representative Jonathan Stickland, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, but he doubts it will even get to a debate.
Rep. Strickland placed the blame on the bill's demise on the House speaker saying, “I think the Straus team has already decided that they are not going to let it out. He added, “This is clearly part of a national agenda that is being pushed by the progressive left, and I think that that is just all coming to a head here.”
For months, Straus refused to meet with Patrick over moving the bill forward, according to the Texas Tribune.
In July, the Lt. Governor expressed his frustration over the cold shoulder. He said during a press conference, “I’ve never had a one-on-one meeting with the speaker the entire session or since the session.” Patrick continued, “If he’s serious, because I’m serious and the governor’s serious, then you have to sit down and discuss it and work it out.”
That same day, Patrick announced his continued support for Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a staunch supporter of Senate Bill 6.
Straus finally agreed to a one-on-one meeting with Patrick on Monday. Afterwards, neither verified if the bathroom bill or the house version would move forward, though the Lt. Governor assured constituents that he and the speaker were still communicating in an emailed statement. "The Speaker and I had a substantive meeting today where we discussed a lot of issues," he said. "We are still talking.”
While opponents claim that the bill unjustly discriminates against transgendered people, supporters say it will provide an extra layer of protection for children and women from anyone who wants to do them harm by taking advantage of "pro-transgender" policies.