While Simmons’ House Bill 2899 would have kept transgender Texans from using the restroom that matches their gender identity, The News reported it would have also axed rights that cities have extended to other groups that are not special classes protected in public bathrooms, such as veterans.
The bill would have barred political subdivisions like cities, counties and school districts from protecting any class of persons not already protected under federal law in multi-occupancy bathrooms, locker rooms and showers.
Cities like Plano and San Antonio have passed local ordinances protecting the rights of veterans in public accommodation, which includes places like coffee shops, hotels, movie theaters and the bathrooms in those facilities. If Simmons’ bill had passed as it was written, these cities’ attorneys told The News they would not be able to sue on behalf of a veteran denied access to a public bathroom.
Simmons said his new version of the bill would likely include some changes to ensure veterans are not adversely effected.
“We’re still trying to work on the wording to make sure that it’s clear it’s not a veterans’ issue,” said Simmons. “We certainly wouldn’t want a city or political subdivision passing something that would have unintended consequences.”
Abbott must first file an official special session proclamation with the Legislature before lawmakers can file any bills. Simmons wants his approval once he does: “I do want to talk to the governor’s office before I actually push the button.”
The governor put 19 other items on the list of issues he wants debated during the special session, including a must-pass piece of legislation re-authorizing the operations of five state agencies. The session begins July 18, will last up to 30 days and could cost up to $1 million.