Senate committee approves ‘bathroom bill’ along party lines

— The Commerce and Labor Committee voted, 4-3, Wednesday to move the so-called “bathroom bill” to the floor of the Senate for consideration.

Senate Bill 6443 would strike down the unelected state Human Rights Commission’s unilateral decision last month to require restroom, locker and dressing room use by gender identity rather than physical gender. The commission’s edict requires all public places, including schools, community centers, and restaurants and other businesses, to essentially allow men to use women’s facilities and vice versa, if they claim to identify with a sex other than their physical gender.

Republicans Michael Baumgartner of Spokane, John Braun of Centralia, Curtis King of Yakima and Judy Warnick of Moses Lake supported the measure; Democrats Bob Hasegawa of Seattle, Steve Conway of Tacoma and Karen Keiser voted against it.

King represents part of the Yakima Valley, as well as Klickitat County including Bickleton.

Sponsored by Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, more than 300 people turned out to testify on the measure yesterday afternoon before the committee voted to support the measure.

While the state Senate is moving forward with the repeal of the Human Rights Commission rule, House Bill 2782 may not be going anywhere.

That bill introduced by Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, would remove the gender identity mandate, but allow local governments and businesses to make their own decisions on appropriate bathroom use.

Noting that state civil rights laws do not distinguish between preoperative or nonoperative transgender residents, Klipperts bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

Committee Chairwoman Lauire Jinkins, D-Tacoma, said she will not allow a hearing on the measure.

Washington isn’t the only state where residents are up-in-arms over restroom-use mandates ordered by non-elected government agencies.

In South Dakota, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 1008 yesterday, which would restrict restroom, locker and dressing room use based on physical gender. That bill has moved to the state Senate.

The South Dakota House is also considering House Bill 1112, which would require student-athletes to compete on teams based on physical gender.

In Washington state, student-athletes can legally choose to play on teams based on their gender identity, meaning a boy who identifies as a girl could play on a girls basketball team. Likewise, a girl could play on the boys team.

On the East Coast, Virginia’s House Bill 663 would establish a student’s gender on the “physical condition of being male or female, which is determined by a person’s anatomy” for the purpose of restroom, locker and dressing room use, as well as sports.

And Oklahoma Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow, has introduced Senate Bill 1014 that would require restroom use in his state to be based on the gender listed on a birth certificate.


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