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The Brief: Senate committee advances bathroom bill

Texas lawmakers on the Senate State Affairs Committee passed the bathroom bill early Wednesday morning after more than 13 hours of public testimony.

John Erler of Austin poses as Moses in the hallways of the Capitol Extension during public testimony on SB 6 the bathroom bill on March 7, 2017.

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Tribune today

Senate committee advances Texas "bathroom bill"
After 13-plus hours of emotional testimony, largely in opposition, the Senate State Affairs Committee voted 7-1 early Wednesday morning to advance the so-called Texas “bathroom bill."

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What you need to know

Texas lawmakers on the Senate State Affairs Committee advanced the "bathroom bill" at 4:50 a.m. Wednesday, after more than 13 hours of public testimony.

  • The contentious "bathroom bill" would require Texans to use the bathrooms that match their “biological sex” in schools and government buildings. Supporters of the legislation say it protects people's privacy, but many Texans who testified against it said it was discriminatory.  
  • More people testified against the bill Wednesday than for it. According to Austin American-Statesman reporter Chuck Lindell, more than 250 visitors to the Capitol testified against the bill. Just 29 testified in support of it.
  • The bill still faces a long path to being passed. It now heads to the full Senate, where Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has said he wants to bring the bill to the floor next week
  • If the bill passes the Senate, it heads to the House. Leaders there aren't keen on the bill. On Tuesday, Speaker Joe Straus reiterated his concerns. “Clearly, I’m not a fan of the bill that they’re discussing,” he said

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Other stories we're watching today:

  • The Texas House Committee on State Affairs is taking up legislation that would require health providers to bury or cremate the remains of aborted fetuses. Follow Texas Tribune reporter Alex Samuels for updates. 

What we're reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; paywall content noted with $) 

Trump warns House GOP members of electoral 'bloodbath' if repeal and replace failsCNN

CIA providing raw intelligence as Trump-Russia probe heats up, Politico 

Lawmaker: Transparency needed on Texas voter ID spendingAP

Hacked: Energy industry's controls provide an alluring target for cyberattacks, The Houston Chronicle ($)

Ted Cruz lays low on Republican Obamacare plan, San Antonio Express-News ($) 

SXSW announces changes to immigration-related language in its contracts, Austin American-Statesman ($)

For your calendar

Join us online or in person for a conversation with Austin Mayor Steve Adler at the Austin Club on March 9. 

Photo of the day

A large crowd opposed to Senate Bill 6, the Texas bathroom bill, converged at the Capitol extension rotunda as the Senate State Affairs Committee hearing temporarily adjourned Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Bob Daemmrich. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

"Transgender individuals should feel a sense of sanctuary in Texas. Instead of controlling where they relieve themselves, we should be addressing the real concerns that transgender individuals face daily: discrimination in the workplace, affordable health care and harassment."

— Geoff Carlisle, a teacher, on the bathroom bill in Texas and its effect on students in TribTalk

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Cassi Pollock. If you have feedback or questions, please email We're a nonprofit newsroom, and count on readers like you to help power newsletters like this. Did you like what you read today? Show your appreciation by becoming a member or making a donation today.

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