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Senate Republicans Pass the Privacy Act, SB 3, In A Bipartisan 21-10 Vote

July 25, 2017

Senator Kolkhorst spends a full day debating the issue with 10 Democrat Senators

AUSTIN – Despite slowdown tactics employed by Senate Democrats, the Texas Senate Republicans have continued their work to quickly pass the conservative legislative agenda outlined by Governor Abbott for the ongoing special legislative session. The Texas Senate today passed the Texas Privacy Act, Senate Bill 3, on second reading by a vote of 21-10. The bill is expected to pass on third reading tomorrow.

The Texas Senate has spent nearly nine hours debating the Texas Privacy Act, Senate Bill 3, by Senator Kolklhorst (R-Brenham). “This bill provides the safety and security that Texans expect,” Senator Kolkhorst stated. Senator Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville) spoke for and provided the lone Democrat vote for SB 3.

In an unusual move by Senate Democrats, a point of order was raised by Senator Watson (D-Austin) in an effort to kill the bill because the bill also mentions protections for Title IX women’s sports. When the Senate Parliamentarian ruled the point of order was “out of order”, Senator Watson appealed the ruling of the chair and called for a debate on the issue. Lt. Governor Patrick “vacated the chair” and Senator Hancock (R- North Richland Hills) presided over the debate. “It’s a privilege to be a member of the Texas Senate, a legislative body that prides itself on decorum and respect. Today’s proceedings reflected those principles,” said Senator Hancock.

At another point after Senate Democrats relied on now debunked statements from the Texas Association of Business, citing wildly speculative numbers on the possible impact to the Texas economy, Senator Bettencourt responded, “Each state used in the previous TAB study either didn’t pass legislation like SB 3, or relied on erroneous personal statements used as fact. Additionally, the Houston H.E.R.O. Ordinance defeat was somehow not a vote to keep men out of women’s restrooms.” He added later, “The Houston vote didn’t change Houston’s economy nor will today’s vote change Texas’ economy, as it is about privacy!”

Senator Kolkhorst highlighted the need for the Texas Privacy Act due to a “Dear Colleague” letter sent by former President Obama’s Department of Education to over 1,000 Texas ISDs which would have allowed men and women to shower together at school facilities based on their gender identity. Senator Huffman (R-Houston) added an amendment that besides a birth certificate, all three forms of Texas identification, a Texas Drivers License, a personal ID card, or a Concealed Handgun License would be added to SB 3 for identification purposes. “Common sense dictates we reference known Texas identification,” Senator Huffman added.

Senate Bill 3 requires that in public multi-occupancy restrooms or shower facilities, a person must use the facility that corresponds with their birth certificate. The bill further prohibits a political subdivision from establishing a policy or ordinance that would counteract this legislation. Also, the bill supports keeping Title IX women’s sports intact from men competing in women’s sports.

Senator Kolkhorst continued, “Lt. Governor Patrick has long expressed opposition to boys and girls showering together in schools. I believe that women’s sports have made great advances since Title IX. Most Texans and female athletes believe boys should not be able to participate in girl’s athletics. SB 3 ensures that schools will protect Title IX and women’s rights.”

“While the Senate spent a full day on the privacy bill, we will now go on working tonight to vote on the issues as Texans expect us to do,” concluded Senator Bettencourt.

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