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Texas Senate once again passes ‘bathroom bill' legislation

Police chiefs from across state rallied against bill Tuesday

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(Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

AUSTIN (AP) – A Texas version of a North Carolina-style "bathroom bill" targeting transgender people has again passed the state Senate but still faces obstacles.

The vote Tuesday came a week into a special legislative session that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott called after GOP leaders deadlocked in May over efforts to restrict which bathrooms transgender people can use.

But there is no sign of cracks in that impasse. Republican House Speaker Joe Straus for months has denounced the bill and has only sharpened his criticism in recent weeks.

Straus has stood with Apple, Amazon and other big-name companies that call the efforts discriminatory and bad for Texas businesses. Social conservatives say the bill is a needed privacy safeguard.

Police chiefs from Texas' largest cities rallied against the bill outside the state Capitol before the vote.

"Beyond my wildest dreams, I never thought that I'd be standing in front of the state Capitol talking about a bathroom bill," San Antonio police Chief William McManus said. "Like police don't have anything better to do than to worry about who goes into a bathroom."

Related: SA mayor joins growing opposition to 'bathroom bill'

McManus and police officials from Houston, Austin, Dallas and El Paso said the bill will make the state less safe and waste their time.

The chiefs said they haven't found examples of restroom-related sexual assaults and that forcing officers to combat nonexistent crime will increase discrimination and make Texas more dangerous.

"I believe that if you propose a bill to address a criminal justice concern, it's important to determine if you actually have a problem," McManus said. "This bill is a solution looking for a problem. The bathroom bill doesn't pass the test, the most basic test, of any public safety bill. It does nothing to make us safer."

Related: SA-area superintendents, Chamber oppose 'bathroom bill'

McManus said the bill will create confusion for transgender people and for police.

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