Legislation to prevent transgender people from using the bathrooms of their choosing has bit the dust in Texas, after the state House summarily ended its special session without passing it.
Despite being backed by Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, the session was gaveled to a close a day early by House Speaker Joe Straus, over vociferous objections from Republicans eager to see it passed.
“With 27 hours to go, they walked off the job,” Patrick said during a news conference, invoking the mythical specter of “sexual predators who would follow women into bathrooms.”
“The people of Texas don’t want that,” he added.
Abbot is technically allowed to call another special session, but Patrick indicated that such a scenario was unlikely. The Huffington Post notes that Straus, a pro-business Republican who sets the agenda, said that the issue was not a priority. This is the second time the measure has been killed, having also failed to pass during the regular session.
Had the bill made it through, transgender people would have been required to use restrooms, showers and locker rooms in state and local government facilities that match the sex on their birth certificate, and do not necessarily correspond to their gender identity.
“Finally, Texans can breathe a temporary sigh of relief,” JoDee Winterhof, an official with the Human Rights Campaign, told Reuters in a statement. “Texans don’t want harmful, anti-transgender legislation.”
Passage of the bill in Texas had the potential to reinvigorate momentum of similar legislation in other Republican-dominated states, after its fire largely died following North Carolina’s partial repeal of a similar law in March. The original law led to boycotts by major companies said to have cost the state millions, a fact that was not lost on Texans: The Texas Association of Business estimated that the state stood to lose around $5.6 billion through 2026 had the measure passed.
Barring another special session, Texas lawmakers will not reconvene until 2019.