from Texas Competes, with permission to reprint:We've gotten some legal analysis on the proposed committee substitute for HB 2899, as currently drafted, and in terms of Texas' reputation on LGBT discrimination, it doesn't look good. It certainly goes further than the new law in North Carolina. Key notes:
- It would nullify existing non-discrimination protections from discrimination in bathrooms, showers, and changing facilities in several Texas cities (Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin) and in all public school districts. It also might complicate the enforceability of existing local anti-discrimination ordinances beyond the context of bathrooms and changing facilities since courts may hold that those ordinances are non-severable (i.e. they either stand or fall as a whole, rather than in parts). These protections are valued as methods to attract economic development and talent, and by school districts that have policies in place as a way to have clarity on how to protect all children.
- It forbids any Texas cities, counties, and school districts from protecting people in the future from discrimination in bathrooms, showers, and other changing facilities.
- It is one-sided in its prohibition. Under the proposal, only the protection of "a class of persons from discrimination" is forbidden. But cities and schools may choose to permit or even mandate discrimination against "a class of persons" (e.g. transgender people) in bathrooms, showers, and other changing facilities. With all of its flaws, at least the North Carolina compromise does not permit local governments or schools to specifically target any "class of persons." Texas HB 2899 would permit that targeting.
- It applies to all categories of discrimination protection not mentioned in state or federal law, including existing or future protection from discrimination on the basis of veteran status, familial status, marital status, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
- It literally codifies discrimination in Texas law by forbidding enforcement of policies and ordinances that "protect a class of persons from discrimination." The result is an unprecedented form of exclusion from legal protection.
- If you're interested in testifying on Wednesday, Equality Texas has a how-to guide here.