Texas House speaker pans bathroom bill, exposes GOP divide

Texas House speaker pans bathroom bill, exposes GOP divide

By WILL WEISSERT
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A powerful Texas Republican says a proposal barring transgender people from using public restrooms of their choice statewide is bad for business.

It's a sentiment that's out of step with Texas' leading conservatives who back the proposal, despite it echoing a law that caused economic upheaval in North Carolina.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus' comments Wednesday underscore an escalating ideological battle between the GOP's business-minded traditional base and further-right grassroots activists.

Addressing the Texas Association of Business, Straus received a standing ovation after saying: "I think we should be very careful about doing something that can make Texas less competitive."

The "bathroom bill" has been championed by Straus' Texas Senate counterpart, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

The measure also would ban local governments from passing bathroom ordinances protecting LGBT rights.

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