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Senate Committee Passes Privacy Bill; Will House Act?

Jonathan Shiloh Rob testify Senate SB 3 (620-240)

The Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs approved SB 3, a bill to protect privacy in showers, restrooms, and locker rooms in schools and government buildings, by a bipartisan vote of 8-1 late Friday night. Democratic Sen. Eddie Lucio voted with Republicans and Sen. Judith Zaffirini voted no.

The bill, filed by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, is now on the fast track to a full floor vote, possibly as soon as Monday or Tuesday in a time-shortened 30-day special session.

Said Jonathan Saenz, President of Texas Values, who testified in favor of SB 3:

“A diverse group from legal, faith, education, medical and business communities came out in strong support of the Texas Privacy Act (SB 3) at today’s Senate hearing which made the bill’s passage a clear reflection of the will of Texas voters. Senator Lois Kolkhorst’s voice and commitment to protect privacy is central to this effort. It now remains to be seen whether the leadership of the Texas House will respond to the will of its members and constituents by giving privacy legislation a timely committee hearing while the people of Texas are anxiously waiting.”

Nicole Hudgens, Policy Analyst for Texas Values who testified today, said:

“Senator Kolkhorst said it best today: ‘daughters over dollars.’ The Legislature has just a few short weeks to protect our girls before school begins in the fall. Senate leaders have responded to the public outcry for a law to protect privacy and eliminate the patchwork of confusing school district and local government policies that violate privacy in intimate facilities.”

A poll sponsored by the Lieutenant Governor shows that a majority of both Texas Republicans and Democrats believe protecting privacy is a priority. Other polls have suggested that a majority of Texans support keeping men out of little girls’ restrooms – as did Houstonites when they voted down the mayor’s “bathroom ordinance” 61-39 percent (the only time voters have been allowed to have a say on the issue).

“Local cities and school districts have made a mess of the privacy issue, have shut parents out of these matters, and instead passed bad policy behind closed doors,” Saenz said, echoing comments made during testimony at Friday’s Senate hearing. “The Texas Legislature can stand up for not only privacy but also local government transparency by putting a statewide privacy bill on the Governor’s desk this summer, and before children head back to school.”

Additional information on SB 3: txvalues.org/protectprivacy

About Texas Values

Texas Values is a nonprofit organization dedicated to standing for faith, family, and freedom in Texas. More information is available at txvalues.org

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