February 20, 2017
In January, the Texas state Legislature introduced Senate Bill 6 and House Bill 1362. If enacted, this legislation would require people to use bathrooms in public schools and universities, and other government buildings consistent with their “biological sex.” The bill is similar to North Carolina’s HB 2 that was enacted in early 2016 but has some key differences. Both bills pre-empt local nondiscrimination ordinances regarding bathroom use by people who are transgender. However, the Texas bill only applies to bathrooms; people identifying as transgender may still be protected from housing and employment discrimination by local ordinances. Also, the Texas bill contains exemptions for buildings owned by the government but leased to a private entity, such as stadiums, conventions centers, and entertainment venues.
Another notable difference between the North Carolina law and the Texas bill are their penalties and enforcement mechanisms. North Carolina’s law does not outline any penalties or ways to enforce the law. Under the Texas bill, entities with noncompliant bathroom policies could be fined between $1,000 and $10,500 per day they are not in compliance, but does not list any penalties for individuals using the wrong bathroom.
For more information on how to comply with various laws regarding gender identity and public accomodations, please see IREM’s White Paper “Gender Identity Discrimination in Public Accommodations.”