"Bathroom bill" continues to bedevil Texas politics

May 27, 2017

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, and House Speaker Joe Straus, right, from dueling press conferences they each held on May 26, 2017.
Credit Cassandra Pollock/Alexa Ura / Texas Tribune

Texas lawmakers finally approved a budget this weekend, but the news was overshadowed by the rancorous issue of rights for trans Texans. This session, the so-called “bathroom bill” that targets transgender citizens has dominated the headlines. As of Saturday the Legislature remains locked in a stalemate over the matter, reports The Texas Tribune.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has repeatedly suggested that the bill is a top priority for him. But Joe Straus, the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, has called the matter a distraction.

Yesterday, both men held dueling press conferences to advance their own versions of the narrative. Earlier this week, Straus’s House amended the Senate’s bathroom bill and passed what Patrick saw as a water-down version of the legislation. The compromise wasn’t good enough for Patrick, who asked members of the House to negotiate further. Straus refused, saying, “For many of us—and especially for me—this was a compromise.”

Many big businesses, including the National Football League and Google, have warned that they will punish Texas economically if the bill is passed. Patrick has promised to force a special session if he doesn’t get his way, but it remains to be seen whether Gov. Greg Abbott will go along with that plan.