In late votes, transgender bathroom bill, 10 others sent to House

In a flurry of votes that extended beyond midnight, the Texas Senate gave final approval to almost a dozen bills early Wednesday, including legislation cracking down on transgender-friendly bathroom policies.

Most of the bills, which received initial Senate approval Monday and Tuesday, were sent to the House with little or no debate in about a half-hour of action.

One exception was Senate Bill 3, which seeks to bar public schools and local governments from adopting policies that would let transgender people use restrooms, locker rooms and changing rooms that correspond with their gender identity.

“This bill will end up harming children who are vulnerable to being bullied (and) ostracized,” said Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo.

SB 3 was given final approval, as was Senate Bill 10, which would require stricter reporting of abortion complications. Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, called it another case of abortion-related “bureaucratic bullying,” saying there was no threat to health or safety that needed to be addressed.

Democrats also spoke against a bill to bar state and local governments from allowing for automatic payroll deductions to pay for union dues for teachers, jailers, Child Protective Services caseworkers and other government employees — although unions serving police, firefighters and emergency workers would be exempt under Senate Bill 7.

In addition, Republicans turned aside a Democratic attempt to amend Senate Bill 1, which would require automatic elections to approve property tax increases of 4 percent or more, by allowing local voters to opt in to the bill’s requirements.

In addition to approving SB 1 and 7, senators gave final approval to:

• SB 2, providing money for private school tuition for students with disabilities.

• SB 9, capping government spending to population growth times inflation.

• SB 11, requiring specific patient approval for hospital do-not-resuscitate orders.

• SB 16, creating commission to study and recommend improvements to public school finance.

• SB 17, extending a commission to study the state’s high rate of pregnancy-related deaths.

• SB 19, providing a bonus for teachers and a boost to Teacher Retirement System benefits.

• SB 73, requiring stricter reporting of abortions for minors.

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