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Texas Privacy: By Hook or by Cook!

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It may have been a popular compromise, but no one’s rushing to pass it! That’s the dilemma in Texas, where time is ticking on the legislative session that holds the state’s privacy bill in the balance. After tweaking SB 6, everyone from Governor Greg Abbott (R) to some fence-sitters in the state house seemed on board with the new HB 2899. But now, almost three weeks since that measure was introduced, nothing concrete has been done to keep men out of girls’ showers, bathrooms, and locker rooms.

After some changes to the text, the new bill would put the brakes on local ordinances that throw open the locker room, shower, or bathroom doors to anyone. A city council, school district, or other government body would have to approach the legislature for permission to change their policy. And that’s no easy process.

Although House Speaker Joe Straus (R) seemed more inclined to move this measure, the bill wasn’t taken up for a vote in the two committee meetings since it was heard last week. That’s not what voters wanted to hear, especially with just a month left on the Assembly calendar. Our friends at Texas Values put the blame squarely on the chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, Rep. Bryan Cook. “The ACLU and LGBT lobby groups have made defeating this bill their top goal for this session,” our friends at Texas Values point out. And no wonder! Most people understand that what happens on Texas’s bill will have a major impact on the dozen other privacy bills working their way through the states.

After meeting until the “wee hours of the morning” last week, a simple vote isn’t asking too much. If leaders are going to break the logjam, they’ll need to hear from Texans! Contact your state representative and urge them to vote for HB 2899. Then, when you’re done, call and email all the members of the House State Affairs Committee, who hold the fate of the bill in their hands. To see a list of their emails and phone numbers, click here.



 

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