A measure to restrict transgender people's access to bathrooms in schools and other public buildings in Texas died Tuesday night when the state House abruptly adjourned without passing it. The so-called bathroom bill was one of several measures that were supposed to have been addressed during a 30-day special legislative session scheduled to end Wednesday. But House Speaker Joe Straus gaveled the session to a close a day early over objections from fellow Republicans.
Kyle Biedermann, who represents a district west of the capital Austin, was one of many Republicans complaining about the surprise adjournment Tuesday night.
"Rules are rules...except when they aren't," Biedermann said on Twitter.
The bill was supported by Gov. Greg Abbott and especially by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who charged that "the House quit tonight." "With 27 hours to go, they walked off the job," he said at a late-night news conference in Austin during which he raised the specter of "sexual predators who would follow women into bathrooms."
Under state law, Abbott can call another special session, but Patrick indicated that he wouldn't press for one, pointing to several victories for Republicans on other measures during the session, notably taxes.
The measure was similar to one that was enacted and then repealed in North Carolina in March. As in North Carolina, scores of Texas businesses and moderate Republican lawmakers opposed the measure — including Straus, who has said the time spent on the bill was "absurd."
Major corporations, including Halliburton and ExxonMobil, helped fund the opposition campaign, arguing that the measure would make it hard for them to recruit talent.