Normally, by the tail end of May, the Texas Legislature would have adjourned for the year. But that’s not the case with the state’s 85th legislative session, which will reconvene on July 18 to try to move forward an anti-trans bathroom bill.
Right before the end of the original session, Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick pressured the Texas Legislature to pass a bill that would force transgender students to use the bathroom correlating with their sex assigned at birth, threatening to stall basic government legislation until a bill made it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. The bill subsequently failed to neither pass nor die, and Abbot announced a 30-day special session to confirm a bathroom bill and wrap up necessary budgetary bills.
It’s these tactics that have lead activists to call Texas’ 85th session “the Session of Oppression.” USA Today reports that approximately two dozen anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced into the Texas Legislature during 2017, making the Texas Legislature one of the most actively anti-LGBTQ legislative assemblies in the U.S. By comparison, the Human Rights Campaign reports that over 130 anti-LGBTQ bills across 30 states have been introduced so far in 2017.
“It has just been a brutal session for targeting people that were already marginalized and making their lives more difficult,” ACLU of Texas legal and policy director Rebecca Robertson told USA Today. “The business community has been adamant in opposition to all of these discriminatory measures, but that hasn’t won the debate.”