Society

Eight More States Introduce Trans-Bathroom Bills

| by Robert Fowler

Despite the controversy of the North Carolina HB2 law, Republican lawmakers in eight state Legislatures are currently pursuing their own bills that would ban transgendered men and women from using bathrooms that do not correspond with the gender listed on their birth certificate.

On Jan. 5, Texas became the latest state Legislature to introduce legislation that mirrors the North Carolina HB2 law. In the 2017 sessions, the state Legislatures of Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington and Minnesota will also consider similar bills, The Guardian reports.

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced the bill at a press conference in Austin, asserting: "You can mark today as the day that Texas is drawing a line in the sand and saying 'no.' The privacy and safety of Texans is our first priority, not political correctness."

Meanwhile, Virginia introduced legislation that closely resembles HB2 on Jan. 3. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia has vowed to veto the legislation, asserting that it would damage the state economy.

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"Just as HB2 has hurt North Carolina, this proposal would harm our ongoing efforts to bring jobs to Virginia," McAuliffe said.

Patrick contends that such a measure would not harm the Lone Star state's economy. While the Texas Associaiton of Business warned in 2016 that such a bathroom law could cost the Texas economy up to $8.5 billion in revenue, Patrick asserted that it is actually the states which outlaw transgender use of bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity which are faring the best.

"If you look at all the states in the country that have the most robust economies, they are states, almost without exception, that do not allow men into ladies' rooms," Patrick said. "But many of the states at the bottom of the pile, where their economies are suffering, have different policies."

The Texas lieutenant governor added that he believed North Carolina was not harmed by the passage of HB2, asserting that the state is "doing just fine."

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North Carolina implemented HB2 in March 2016. The law forbids localities in the state to institute anti-discrimination laws for LGBTQ residents in the workplace and housing in addition to mandating that transgender people strictly use bathrooms that correspond with the gender on their birth certificate.

Since the passage of HB2, several high-profile businesses and sports entities have boycotted North Carolina, costing the state an estimated $395 million in revenue as of September 2016. The state Legislature had attempted to repeal the bill in December 2016, but the effort was squashed by GOP lawmaker, Vox reports.

In April 2016, President-elect Donald Trump had blasted HB2 as an unnecessary law that had caused economic harm to North Carolina.

"North Carolina did something that was very strong and they're paying a big price and there's a lot of problems," Trump told NBC's TODAY. "There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate, there has been so little trouble."

In July 2016, Trump shifted his position, stating that he supported the North Carolina law because the state knows "what's going on, they see what's happening and generally I'm with the state on things like this," according to The Huffington Post.

Sources: The Guardian, The Huffington PostTODAYVox / Photo credit: Ted Eytan/Flickr

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