The passage of a “bathroom bill” last March sparked a maelstrom with severe political, economic and cultural consequences for North Carolina that continued through the end of 2016. Yet Texas is poised to propose a similar law in 2017.
In November, one of the state’s most senior politicians published his top 10 priorities for the next legislative session. A “Women’s Privacy Act” was at number six, right after banning immigration “sanctuary cities” and insisting on photo ID at the ballot box.
The act, said lieutenant governor Dan Patrick, is necessary so that “women and girls” can have “privacy and safety in their restrooms, showers and locker rooms”.
When filed, the bill is likely to turn national attention to Texas in the wake of North Carolina legislators’ failure to repeal their bill during a special session on 21 December. Patrick issued a statement the following day congratulating them.
The so-called bathroom bill in North Carolina includes a provision that requires people to use public bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate. Critics have described it as a thinly veiled attack on the transgender community under the guise of protecting public safety.