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Straus is a big No on SB6

Very good to hear.

Rep. Joe Straus

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus on Friday gave perhaps his harshest condemnation yet of the controversial “bathroom bill” championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Straus said the bill, which has drawn the ire of Texas businesses and been criticized as discriminatory against transgender people, felt “manufactured and unnecessary.”

“If we’ve gotten to the point in our civilization, in our society, that our politicians have to pass bills about bathroom stuff … I mean, we’ve gotten really out of control,” he said.

“For it to get this much attention in a legislative session is astounding to me,” he added.

[…]

“I oppose it,” Straus said. “… I don’t feel a great deal of fervor to promote that bill in the House.”

In a wide-ranging interview with Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project and a Texas Tribune pollster, Straus downplayed tensions between the House and the Senate and distanced himself from recent comments made by Gov. Greg Abbott about city and county policies.

Asked about Abbott’s Tuesday remark that he wants the Legislature to pass a “broad-based law” that pre-empts local regulations, Straus said he didn’t know “exactly” what the governor had said but that Straus preferred a “step-by-step” approach to issues of local control.

“I don’t think a blanket policy on exerting power from Austin over locals is a particularly attractive idea, and I don’t think it’ll happen,” Straus said.

Straus has consistently said that the bathroom bill was not a priority for the House, but as far as I know this is the first time he has expressed his own view of it. To be sure, Straus has generally not interfered with the will of the House – unlike Tom Craddick, he has let his committee chairs do their thing, and legislation has passed or failed on the actions of the members. But as I’m sure Straus would tell you, one of the Speaker’s jobs is to take care of the House members. They’re the ones who really elect him, after all. As I said before, while there is likely a majority of Republican House members who favor SB6, there’s not enough of them to pass it. Why make everyone – especially the ones who don’t support it – take a vote on it? I’m sure Straus has had a conversation or two about this with State Affairs Committe Chair Byron Cook.

Another way to look at this is that Straus is a business-establishment Republican to the core, and unlike Dan Patrick he’s actually listening to the concerns of the state’s business leaders, including the various visitors and conventions bureaus. Given that, why wouldn’t he oppose SB6? And given that, why wouldn’t he say so?

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10 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    There’s a lot not to like about Joe Strauss, but this isn’t one of those things. It would be best to just let this go away quietly. Perhaps some sort of gentleman’s agreement between progressives and our Dan Patrick led moral crusaders? Both sides agreeing not to push the issue and just let things go back to where they were before would be fine with me.

  2. brad moore says:

    Bill,

    So you are saying progressives are “pushing” SB6?

    Isn’t that kinda of like Trump blaming the failure of Trumpcare on the Democrats?

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    @Brad:

    Of course progressives aren’t pushing SB6. Do you see any Dem supporters of SB6, beyond Lucio? Progressives push stuff like the HERO. SB6 is the natural blowback from the HERO. This is a lot like our country’s Middle East policies. We force ourselves on others, then wonder why we attract terrorists.

    Example: In Iran, Operation Ajax ultimately lead to the embassy hostage taking

    HERO and other progressive actions ultimately lead to HB6.

  4. Jen says:

    Progressives are responsible for HB6, by stupidly asking for fairness and accountability, and nondiscrimination rules that are commonplace in cities across the country that are looking to attract top-flight businesses. Right. Are you sure it wasn’t some right-wing nutjobs and their talk-show buddies scaremongering for votes? Looks like the usual tried-and-true campaign of malicious lies to me, with a trans twist instead of the previously effective gay slurs.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    @Jen:

    Yes. Progressives ARE responsible for this. Exactly. Let me give you another example of blowback. Trump got elected, in no small part, for his promise to start enforcing the law again, to bring back law and order. That means ramping up deportations. And what did that lead to?

    People like the Travis County Sheriff announcing sanctuary city policies, colleges enacting policies that ICE agents would be barred from their properties without a warrant, etc. The recent increase in “sanctuary” activity is a direct, predictable result of Trump’s change in policy, to begin enforcing the law again. It’s blowback. SB6 is a direct, predictable result of the HERO, Obama’s diktat that schoolgirls with outies must be allowed to shower with schoolgirls with innies, etc. Also blowback.

    Had you folks just quietly used the restrooms of your choice, and been amenable to using common sense when it comes to shower facilities, we wouldn’t be here right now talking about SB6, which, by the way, I oppose.

    Had Trump just quietly ignored immigration law like his predecessors, we wouldn’t be here right now talking about sanctuary cities and resistance to deportations.

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    Jen:

    Here’s an example of what contributed to the blowback that is HB6.

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/03/us/illinois-school-district-transgender-ruling/index.html

    The whole reason we segregate bathrooms in the first place is basic biology. Innies use the ladies room, and outies use the men’s room. Even the insistence that an outie use a curtain while in the ladies room to keep the innies from seeing the outie’s, well, outie, wasn’t acceptable.

    You are advocating an end to a seemingly simple concept, and you cannot be surprised when there is significant blowback to your advocacy.

  7. paul a kubosh says:

    I agree with Bill’s comments.

  8. Jen says:

    Ladies rooms have stalls, no one knows what anyone else has, or did, or has any curiosity about it. Your arguments are similar to those of a wife beater, “you went out with that Alice and her friends, and made me upset. This is your fault.”
    The world and the people in it are more complex than you would like. And no one is talking about the intersex, whose external gender is often ambiguous. The situation is not simple, and never was.

  9. Bill Daniels says:

    @Jen,

    I agree, ladies rooms DO have stalls, and had y’all not made a huge stink about this, you would be peeing where you felt comfortable and nobody would be saying anything, just as you have done. Shower rooms, on the other hand, do NOT have stalls, and this is where you folks abandon common sense, and why, again, we are here talking about HB6. You are well past gay marriage, which, by the way, I support, and are now putting in the rough (no pun intended) where you are expecting people to just pretend that an outie is an innie, and vice versa.

    This is a bridge too far, even for libertarians like me who generally have a live and let live attitude. It’s a bridge too far even in solidly blue Houston, too.

    Let me make your “Alice” comparison a little more accurate:

    “You and Alice went out and brought men into our house and you gave them lap dances in our living room, in front of me, and that made me upset. This is your fault.” Your proposed behavior, having outies showering in plain view of innies is going to upset almost everyone, even people like me who were perfectly OK with you using the restroom stall of your choice, using the exact reasoning you gave.

    The point I am trying to make is, the HB6 supporters are being just as stubborn and unreasonable as you are being. Frankly, it’s going to be a little weird when I am waiting to wash my hands because you are touching up your lipstick at the sink. It’s going to be even weirder when a kid with an outie is strutting around the girls’ shower at the school down the street.

  10. Jen says:

    Any girl with an ‘outie’ or any kind of unusual body feature, such as intersex, would probably be intensely embarrassed in a school shower, don’t you think? Forget the strutting around. Hiding is more like it. Not likely to end the world as we know it.