Texas “Bathroom Bill” Could Affect 2018 GOP Primaries
Texas lawmakers are vowing that their “bathroom bill” which forbids transgender individuals from using bathrooms of their choice will not get flushed down the toilet as it was in many red states.
The lawmakers are heading into a special session in hopes of reviving the bill and getting the support of some Republican groups.
But experts are warning the Republican Party that passing the bill could paint a big target on their backs come 2018. Texas voters including transgender voters are looking to fire longtime Republican leaders come March of 2018.
Experts believe that going into the next elections, One of the biggest issues in the State will be enactment of the transgender law. The LGBTQ community appear have the backings of NFL stars, Apple executives and other businesses who believe the law is discriminatory.
But insurgent GOP candidates are not backing down. Most have said they will make it difficult for those lawmakers who reject the bill or try to stay neutral.
Most Texas residents were expecting the “bathroom bill” to have passed the legislature last years. The Texas Senate passed a stricter version of the bill in March of this year while the more moderate House led by Speaker Joe Straus who is vehemently against the bill, balked the Senate and approved a version that would only apply to public schools.
Senate rejected that version.
Starting Tuesday GOP Gov. Greg Abbott will allow for a special 30-day special session that may end in a stalemate as well unless one side decides to bulge.
Conservative Republicans of Texas PAC say they are ready to go after lawmakers who won’t support the same type of bill that was passed in North Carolina in 2015 that caused major headaches for the state. That bill had to be rolled back after several businesses either boycotted or threatened to boycott the state.
So far 20 states have not approved the bill but made changes to current laws including Illinois, Arkansas and Kansas.
“To the extent that someone chooses to lock arms with Joe Straus and promote his liberal agenda for the state, and work with him to kill conservative legislation, we’re going to be looking for and back a primary challenger to that individual,” said Jared Woodfill, a Houston attorney who is the president of the Conservative Republicans of Texas PAC.
Woodfill donated $2 million to 100 Texas legislative candidates and other conservative causes in 2010 and 2016. He said he plans to continue his generosity in 2018.
Gay rights activists, businesses and civil rights organizations and many religious leaders see the bill as harmful to transgender communities and bad for the Texas economy.
“The mainstream faith communities in this State cringe when they hear that violent, hateful language so they vacate the field and leave it to extreme people,” said Bee Moorhead, executive director of Texas Impact, which represents religious congregations of different faiths and spectrum.
“What they realize is, even though we do not like that approach, it is incumbent upon us to learn about how to talk about politics,” he added.
Top proponent of the issue in Texas is Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick who oversee the Senate and is the State’s leading conservative voice. Governor Greg Abbott who refused to endorse the bathroom bill for months have now decided to put the bill back on the table during the special session. he is seeking re-election in 2018 and believes this will help bolster his conservative credentials.
Thomas Mcnutt who is running against Byron Cook again after losing to him by 200 votes in 2016 may see a huge boost if the bathroom bill passes.
“Voters are tired of the Texas house leadership, including Bryon Cook, blocking all conservative legislation,” said Mcnutt in an email statement.
Cook, not shying away from this and other issues, said in a fundraising email statement that he wanted to clarify transgender restroom policies for public schools but added: “I do not condone duplicitous grandstanding on this issues and/or discriminatory legislation.”
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