Chairman of Texas House committee says anti-transgender sports bill unlikely to get floor vote

click to enlarge Advocates for the LGBTQ+ group Equality Texas gather in Austin to testify against the Texas Lege's collection of anti-trans bills. - Facebook / Equality Texas
Facebook / Equality Texas
Advocates for the LGBTQ+ group Equality Texas gather in Austin to testify against the Texas Lege's collection of anti-trans bills.
The chair of the Texas House's Public Education Committee says a controversial bill that would prevent transgender student-athletes from playing on sports teams for the gender with which they identify is all but certain to die in his committee.

After presiding over an emotionally raw debate on the measure Wednesday, Rep. Harold Dutton, the Houston Democrat who chairs the committee, told Hearst Newspapers that House Bill 4042 doesn't have the votes to be approved for consideration on the floor. A senate version passed last week.

"That bill is probably not going to make it out of committee,” Dutton told Hearst. “We just don’t have the votes for it."

The Public Education Committee is comprised of six Democrats and seven Republicans.

Dozens of people testified Wednesday, most in opposition to HB 4042, which has been criticized by families of transgender athletes, LGBTQ+ groups and medical professionals as discriminatory and based on faulty science.

Dutton told Hearst that existing rules from the University Interscholastic League, which oversees K-12 sports in the state, already address the vast majority of concerns raised in the bill.

“Every bill, the first question I ask is what is the problem that it’s trying to cure and whether the cure fits the problem,” he added.

The proposal has drawn fire from the NCAA, which threatened to pull future sporting events out of Texas if it's signed into law. Business groups including the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Visit San Antonio and hundreds of employers also have urged the Legislature not to pass the bill.

Equality Texas CEO Ricardo Martinez told the Texas Tribune that the Lone Star State has filed more anti-LGBTQ bills this session than any other state legislature.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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