Legislation to prevent transgender people from using the bathroom or locker room of their preference has cracked a rift between Texas Republicans.
The lawmakers convened Tuesday to discuss the agenda set out by Gov. Greg Abbott, which includes about 20 issues and proposals, including one championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
It's a version of Senate Bill 6, which would force transgender people to use the bathroom or locker room that corresponds with their birth certificate. However, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus blocked the bill during regular session after an outpouring of opposition from the state's biggest employers, sports teams and civil rights activists.
Due to the flurry over the bill, multiple reauthorization or "sunset" bills were delayed, leaving five agencies, including the Texas Medical Board, without approval. Without these bills, these agencies will be forced to shut down, leaving medical practitioners, and even those who pose as doctors, without oversight.
"We were put in a sense of necessity, so my thought process was, if this situation is going to be handed to me, I'm going to lay out an agenda of items that I really want to see accomplished in the state of Texas," Abbott told The Hill.
Patrick hit out at Straus for preventing the bill's passing, saying, "I'm not going to let a big-government, moderate-to-liberal speaker undermine our part or undermine solid conservative principles that have made Texas a leader for the last 10-plus years. He's totally out of touch with the Republican Party of Texas."
Straus was more conciliatory, saying that Patrick "seems to lately be kind of unusually distant in his comments," and that "You can't take it personally, and I don't, and we've found common ground on a number of issues in the past."
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