Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a
Republican, on Tuesday announced that he is calling a special
legislative session to tackle 19 items, including a bill that targets
the transgender community.
While the Senate and the House had
approved a version of the bill, the House refused to consider the
Senate's broader measure as the session came to a close. Lieutenant
Governor Dan Patrick, who controls the Senate, pushed Abbott to call
for a special session to advance the bathroom issue, as well as
The Senate approved a bill that
prohibits transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice
in government buildings, while the House approved a more modest
version that applies only to public schools.
“At a minimum, we need a law that
protects the privacy of our children in our public schools,” Abbott
said in calling for the session.
In a statement released before
lawmakers adjourned last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook
founder Mark Zuckerberg reiterated their opposition to the
legislation and called it bad for business.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, criticized Abbott for
reigniting the controversial proposal.
“Gov. Abbott has called a special
session partly dedicated to discriminating against transgender
Texans. In doing so, he has caved to the demands of the fringe
politicians who are using LGBTQ people as pawns to win cheap
political points,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of
policy and political affairs at HRC. “Following a session that
already featured an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ bills, Gov.
Abbott has decided to bring legislators back to Austin – wasting
taxpayers’ time and money – in an attempt to deal yet another
blow to LGBTQ Texans. We oppose any legislation that would target
transgender people, and we will be fighting tooth and nail against
bills that would codify discrimination into law.”
The special session begins July 18.