Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.
The Senate State Affairs Committee took up the so-called bathroom bill on Tuesday and voted to send it to the full Texas Senate after hearing more than 13 hours of testimony.
Senate Bill 6, a legislative priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, would require transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings and public universities that match their “biological sex.” The measure would also pre-empt local nondiscrimination ordinances that allow transgender residents to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
The bill, authored by Republican state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham, has drawn criticism from LGBT advocates and the Texas business community who have warned that the legislation is discriminatory and could come with dire economic repercussions.
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Kolkhorst and Patrick have shrugged off those economic concerns as overblown, and they've insisted that the legislation is meant to increase privacy and the safety of women in “intimate settings.”
Kolkhorst offered up a new version of the legislation at Tuesday's committee hearing with two significant changes: It removes a section that would have increased penalties for certain crimes committed in a bathroom or changing facility and adds a new “legislative findings” section that would write into statute the reasoning Republicans have provided in pushing for the bill.