Gun rights, bathroom bill among Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's legislative priorities

140-day legislative session opens Jan. 10

By Pilar Arias - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - With a little more than a month before the opening of the next legislative session, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick talked about his legislative priorities for the upcoming session during a visit to San Antonio Monday.

Topics included transgender people's use of restrooms in public places, cyberbullying and improving foster care.

One of the hottest topics has eyes from across the nation on Texas: The Women's Privacy Act. The law, proposed by Patrick, would require people to use the restroom corresponding with the gender of their birth.

"We don't want men in ladies' rooms in Texas," Patrick said. "We don't want boys and girls showering together in our public schools."

When North Carolina passed a similar law, the NCAA pulled seven championship events out of the state. San Antonio is set to host the NCAA Final Four in 2018. Texas already led a multi-state lawsuit that has temporarily blocked President Barack Obama's directive allowing transgender students to use the public school bathrooms of their choice.

"I would say to the NCAA tournament, again, don't threaten Texas that you're going to withhold money from us because we want to do something that 80 percent of Texans support," Patrick said. Democrats and business leaders are opposed, as is Republican House Speaker Joe Straus, who says the issue isn't urgent and worries about North Carolina-like backlash.

San Antonians and others are also keeping tabs on "David's Law," which looks to reform school district cyberbullying policies.

"I think about how difficult it has to be for a child today or teenager to grow up in a world where someone can go online and bully them or try to harass them or intimidate them," Patrick said.

The lieutenant governor believes the legislature is working strongly to improve care for foster children and provide additional funding to the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Patrick is also focused on protecting Texans' Second Amendment rights by eliminating the license to carry fee. The issue has been filed as SB 16. He would like to reduce property taxes, ensure every parent has the option to send their child to the school they believe is best for them and provide protection to officers by issuing bullet-proof vests.

Patrick also mentioned he supports legislation requiring photo voter ID, and believes it will be an emergency item for the governor.

The 85th Legislative convenes on Jan. 10.

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