Texas Senate clears ‘bathroom bill’ in 21-10 vote - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Texas Senate clears ‘bathroom bill’ in 21-10 vote

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By a vote of 21-10, the Texas Senate approved its version of Senate Bill 3 -- commonly referred to as the "bathroom bill" -- Tuesday evening.

The legislation would require Texans to use public facilities, such as restrooms, locker rooms and showers, based on their birth sex, regardless of gender identity.

Its approval was in spite of some top cops from Texas' largest cities gathering in Austin to protest the legislation. Some Texoma law enforcement oficials had a similar take on the legislation, saying the issue is not really a problem in the area.

San Antonio police Chief William McManus said, "I never thought that I'd be standing in front of the State Capitol talking about a 'bathroom bill.' Like police don't have anything better to do but worry about who goes in what bathroom?"

Law enforcement officers and local leaders call the bill unnecessary, saying it would be an inefficient use of police resources and keep them away from criminal acts that are generally deemed more heinous.

"If a bill like this were to be passed, that would pull police officers' time away from combating violent crime into enforcing a bathroom bill," said Austin police Chief Brian Manley. "It makes communities less safe. It is time not spent combating crime, time not spent insuring community safety."

At the same time, police are also concerned about enforcing this legislation.

"How would we respond?" Manley asked. "How is an officer expected to handle that call and even try to verify any of the circumstances that would be required under this law? It puts officers in an untenable position."

That sentiment was echoed by Houston police Chief Art Acevedo.

"The last thing we [police departments] need is the confusion that this will create, the open season it will create on discrimination, and lastly, the burden it's going to potentially create on law enforcement," he said.

With a Republican majority in the Senate, despite opposition from many Democrats, the bill was able to move forward.

It now moves to the House, where the original Senate version died earlier this year without a vote.

The bill has ripped clean open a rancorous split in the Texas GOP between moderates who stand with high-profile opponents -- including Amazon and the NFL -- and social conservatives who drive the state's political agenda. Republican House Speaker Joe Straus has aligned with companies that denounce the measure as bad for Texas business and has not wavered in his opposition.

The final vote could come this week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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