Texas lawmakers to weigh ‘bathroom bill’ in special session » Manila Bulletin News



By Agence France-Presse

The Republican governor of Texas on Tuesday convened state lawmakers for a special summer session as he seeks to advance a string of controversial proposals, including abortion curbs and a “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people in America’s second most populous state.

The move by Governor Greg Abbott will extend a particularly tumultuous period of lawmaking in the traditionally conservative state, which lurched further to the right this year.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (AP Photo/Eric Gay / MANILA BULLETIN)

Amid protests, politics grew so acrimonious that two lawmakers almost engaged in a physical fight on the House floor, with one threatening to shoot the other in self-defense.

Abbott asked legislators to reconvene on July 18 to reconsider a total of 20 bills that failed to pass before lawmakers adjourned last month, including a government funding measure that must be approved before lawmakers can consider any others.

Most high-profile among the revived bills is a ban on transgender people’s use of bathrooms, similar to a North Carolina law last year which was later partially rescinded amid boycotts and protests.

The so-called “bathroom bill” has been among the most controversial measures, opposed by business groups on the grounds that it is discriminatory and would cost the state lost revenue.

In reviving it on Tuesday, Abbott said it was a matter of protecting “the privacy of our children in our public schools.”

The governor also sought additional abortion restrictions, such as prohibiting local Texas municipalities from funding abortion providers and requiring separate health insurance premiums for coverage of abortions.

State lawmakers in Texas have already approved new abortion restrictions which would, among other things, ban the most common form of second trimester procedures.

They also sparked protests by banning so-called “sanctuary cities,” the name given to US towns and cities which choose not to fully cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

And they allowed adoption and foster care agencies to turn down gay would-be parents on religious grounds.

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