The Texas Legislature this week

Posted on 07 Apr 2017 at 7:55am

SB 6 still stalled in the House while Patrick extols ‘repeal’ of HB 2 in North Carolina

Dan-Patrick

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

 

From the Associated Press

TYexas’ lieutenant governor this week renewed his defense of his so-called “bathroom bill,” now that the NCAA is putting North Carolina back into consideration for championship events after lawmakers there approved an anemic repeal of their infamous HB 2.

Republican Dan Patrick said Tuesday, April 4, that he believes it is now “abundantly clear” that efforts to require people in Texas to use public bathrooms that correspond with the sex on their birth certificate are not in conflict with NCAA goals.

The NCAA offered a lukewarm endorsement of North Carolina’s compromise “bathroom bill” after the state last week repealed elements of the original 2016 law that led to seven championship events moving elsewhere.

Patrick says the Texas proposal — SB 6 which has already passed in th Senate — mirrors North Carolina’s compromise law. But the Texas bill still faces strong opposition in the House and hasn’t been publicly endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Meanwhile in North Carolina, LGBT rights groups that fiercely supported Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s winning campaign last fall because of his pledge to repeal HB 2 now say he betrayed them by accepting the recent compromise.

Many of Cooper’s fellow Democrats also were upset, although the majority of them in the General Assembly supported the agreement to replace the law, also known as House Bill 2.

Human Rights Campaign, Equality North Carolina and others said a complete HB2 repeal — nothing else — was the only solution.

Cooper, on the other hand, says the compromise was the best he could get with Republican legislative leaders holding veto-proof majorities. The new law does repeal HB2, but keeps state lawmakers in charge of future public bathroom policies. And local governments can’t expand most nondiscrimination protections for nearly another four years.

Meanwhile back in Austin, a bill allowing county judges and other officials to refuse to issue licenses for same-sex marriages because of religious objections is headed to the full Texas Senate.

The proposal, introduced by Granbury Republican Rep. Brian Birdwell, only applies in cases where other officials without any objection can step in and issue marriage documents. If the substituting official is located outside the county where the marriage license is being sought, the bill allows for documents to be sent electronically.

The measure has cleared the Senate State Affairs Committee, but when it will be heard on the chamber floor is unclear.

Progressive groups say it sanctions discrimination. Birdwell counters that he’s seeking to protect the religious liberties of county clerks, justices of the peace and other officials — many of whom are locally elected.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 7, 2017.                                  

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