Mar 10, 2017
As bathroom politics continue to dominate the debate in Austin, a showdown appears to be nearing between the state Senate and the House over privacy in the stalls and transgender rights.
Before the Senate State Affairs Committee approved Senate Bill 6 after a marathon hearing featuring hundreds of supporters and opponents, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called for a million conservative Christians to let their voices be heard to ensure the Texas Privacy Act will gain legislative approval.
Hundreds of pastors and congregants showed up, as did hundreds of transgender Texans and their supporters who say the bill is discrimination, pure and simple, and should be flushed.
Even though Patrick and other supporters had spent weeks downplaying any similarity with a similar law passed in North Carolina, and where controversy continues to rage, who was brought in to lend his support for the Texas bill? North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.
He said supporters in both states are trying to reach the same thing: "Do the right thing," by protecting women from men who enter their restrooms.
Jess Herbst, the transgender mayor of tiny New Hope, Texas, summed up the opposition in true Texas-speak: "If you go into a bathroom and know what's between somebody's legs, you're doing it wrong. That's just how a bathroom works."
Translation for city folks: It shouldn't make any difference.
In a wild week under the Pink Dome, House and Senate leaders drew the initial battle lines between the two chambers on school finance and school choice and over using the Rainy Day Fund -- the state's savings account -- to make up for an expected $2 billion revenue shortfall, among other things.
One surprise: They agreed on property-tax reform plans, at least for now.
If that was unnerving, so was a White House dinner where Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and his family ate with President Trump. Yep, that's the same two guys who were calling each other liars and scumbags during the GOP presidential primary campaign. Perhaps time heals all wounds, as they say.
Get the lowdown on that and all the other intrigue going on beneath the state's Pink Dome on this week's Texas Take: The Podcast -- the leading political podcast in the Lone Star State -- where you get the inside scoop on the Legislature in simple language every Texan can understand -- unvarnished straight talk, as they say.
No political-speak here, y'all.