by Sarah J.F. Braley | August 16, 2017
Texas's 30-day special legislative session was halted a day early yesterday evening, when the House adjourned "sine die," closing business and leaving several issues on the table, including the controversial bill that would have required people to use public restrooms that correspond with the gender that appears on their birth certificates. The Senate finally followed suit, shutting down at about 10 p.m.
SB6, also known as the Texas Privacy Act, had been passed by the Texas Senate during the legislature's regular session, which ended May 29. But House Speaker Joe Straus, left, repeatedly said the bill was not a priority for him and his colleagues, and did not bring the issue to the House floor. The state's legislature meets only in odd-numbered years for 140 days, giving the politicians a limited amount of time to tackle a packed agenda, so Gov. Greg Abbott called the special session to address the bathroom bill and some other items that had been stalled during the regular session.
Texas businesses and tourism entities rallied constantly against SB6, citing economic losses incurred in North Carolina following the passage of a similar bill in March 2016. Several organizations, such as the American Association of Law Libraries, had said they would pull meetings from the state if the bill were passed, and many of the state's major sports franchises were speaking out against it, as well. John H. Graham IV, president and CEO of the American Society of Association Executives, has been very vocal against the legislation, telling M&C Monday that for him, it's a matter of public accommodation, which such laws severely restrict.
What's next? According to the Dallas Morning News, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who was pushing hard for the bathroom bill, spoke at a press conference following the end of the special session, saying the issues that didn't pass this year would be addressed in 2019, meaning there will be no second special session.