This week has been one of the busiest yet in the Texas Legislature with several bills making their way through the process. Here is a recap of what’s happened this week.
On Monday, the House Business and Industry Committee heard testimony on HB 192 by Rep. Diego Bernal. HB 192 would add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the list of classes protected from discrimination in housing. The committee heard personal stories from transgender activists and housing advocates on the effects of not including housing protections for LGBTQ Texans. The bill was left pending in committee.
On Thursday, the House passed HB 100, a bill that would regulate ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. Rep. Tinderholt successfully introduced an amendment that would define sex as “the physical condition of being male or female”. The hashtag #RideWithEquality is currently being used to highlight the discriminatory nature of the added amendment and to pressure Uber and Lyft to take a stand against any discriminatory policies. HB 100 is now headed to the Senate, where efforts will continue to strip the Tinderholt amendment.
On Wednesday, SB 892 was laid out in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee. The bill would allow taxpayer-funded child welfare organizations to discriminate based on religious beliefs. It was left pending in committee. HB 3859, the House companion, was voted out of the House State Affairs Committee last week and is on its way to the Calendars Committee.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, the House State Affairs Committee heard testimony on HB 2899, a bill that would prohibit cities and school districts from passing laws and policies that protect transgender Texans in bathrooms and changing facilities. With nearly 400 people registering in opposition and 66 people testifying against the bill, a clear message was sent to lawmakers that HB 2899 is discriminatory, and that taking away protections for thousands of Texans, including transgender children, is not acceptable. The bill was left pending in committee, but could be brought up for a vote next Wednesday, April 26th. It is important for members of the House State Affairs Committee to hear from Texans who oppose the bill, especially from Texas businesses and small business owners. Click here for information on committee members. Please click here for talking points opposing HB 2899.
As they continue to attack the rights of LGBTQ Texans at every corner, the team at Equality Texas will be there to fight back. With your continued advocacy, we will send a message that discrimination is not a Texas value.
CEO Equality Texas
P.S. Don’t forget to register online here for the Contemporary Relationships Conference by April 30 to guarantee your seat (limited registration at the door based on availability). Hear “A New Way To Think About Relationships” by special guests, Harville Hendrix, PhD and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD. Plus, twenty other workshop options and a mass marriage ceremony to close the event. Don’t miss it!