This callout is part of our Power Trips series, a tour of Texas’ local control battles. Previously, we asked Texans what they thought about the fight over ride-hailing regulations.
One of the biggest fights of the 85th legislative session is also the next stop in our Power Trips series exploring local control issues: the “bathroom bill” debate.
During the regular legislative session, bills that would restrict which bathrooms transgender Texans could use stirred controversy among advocates, the business community and lawmakers. The most prominent was Senate Bill 6 by state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, which would have regulated bathroom use in government buildings and overridden ordinances in cities like Austin and San Antonio that allow people to use public bathrooms based on gender identity.
SB 6 — and other similar efforts — died in the House during the regular session, but the issue was resurrected when Gov. Greg Abbott added bathroom legislation to his agenda for the special session scheduled to begin July 18.
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A recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll showed that a “bathroom bill” is important to 44 percent of the state’s voters, while pro-business forces, which had for months warned that a "bathroom bill" could be disastrous for the state's bottom line, stayed neutral on a legislative amendment offered by state Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, addressing bathroom use in public schools.
Which brings us to you. As part of our ongoing effort to engage people directly affected by state policy, we’re conducting video interviews to learn more about how the “bathroom bill” debate affects people across Texas. To participate, fill out our short form and we may contact you for an interview or include your take in an upcoming story. You can also message us your Facebook video responses at m.me/texastribune.