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April 18, 2017

A Limited Government Solution to the Bathroom Controversy

  Institute for Policy Innovation

DALLAS - In the debate over bathroom access for transgendered persons, the best solution is not to expand government power, but limit municipal overreach. Those in favor of precluding cities from social justice do-goodism should embrace solutions such as Texas’s CSHB 2899, which limits municipal power— rather than an unworkable attempt by the state to police bathroom access.

In a new publication, A Limited Government Solution to the Bathroom Controversy, Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) president Tom Giovanetti explains that Texas’s Senate Bill 6, much like North Carolina’s HB2, addresses the wrong problem, and would expand state power into governing access to bathroom facilities.

“Instead of unnecessarily expanding state power over bathroom decisions, a limited government solution would preclude municipalities from creating protected classes and bestowing legal protections upon such classes,” writes Giovanetti.

SB 6, an unprecedented expansion of state government power, would require in certain facilities that persons must only use the bathroom that corresponds with their biological sex, defined by birth certificate.

“If we cannot trust free people to choose their own bathrooms, how can we trust them to make more important choices?” asked Giovanetti.

Citing his March 17 op/ed in the Dallas Morning News, in which he advocated for state legislation that “municipalities may not pass ordinances that have the effect of creating protected classes or of conferring protections or benefits to protected classes,” Giovanetti says such legislation would have entirely precluded the transgender bathroom controversy in North Carolina, and would preclude unknown future such controversies.

In the 85th session of the Texas Legislature, a bill has been introduced in the House that closely tracks with Giovanetti’s recommendation: House Bill 2899, introduced by Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Lewisville).  And, because HB2899 contains neither the words “bathroom” nor “transgender,” it is not a “bathroom bill,” and does not discriminate against any class of persons.

And while the language of House Bill 2899 has been altered in CSHB 2899, limiting its application to ‘multiple-occupancy restrooms, showers, or changing facilities,’ it still retains the essential features Giovanetti originally recommended. “It is the limited-government solution, because CSHB 2899 limits (municipal) government power, as opposed to Senate Bill 6, which expands state government power,” he said.

“If you believe in limited government, and understand that the original problem was municipal overreach, the superiority of CSHB 2899 over SB 6 should be obvious,” said Giovanetti.

The Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) is an independent, nonprofit public policy organization based in Irving. IPI president Tom Giovanetti is available for interview by contacting Erin Humiston at (972) 874-5139, or erin@IPI.org.

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