Republicans fail on transgender access bill
at 7:30am by tom james
In a tense Wednesday afternoon vote, Republican senators brought one of their own bills on transgender bathroom access to the floor Wednesday, only to see it voted it down.
The bill was a proposal from Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, to roll back protections on transgender bathroom access rights. But Democrats had promised to kill any such proposal that made its way to the state House – making it a surprise that Republicans bothered to bring the bill to the floor, and causing some to speculate the move amounted to political theater.
Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynwood, came over to talk to reporters after the vote. “They usually don’t bring bills to the floor that don’t have the votes to pass,” Liias said.
“I think it’s really unfair to use a community that’s been a victim of violence as a political football.”
Liias said he thought the move seemed likely to have been designed to give some Republican members a chance to look moderate by voting against the bill.
At least two members of the Republican-led Majority Coalition Caucus sent out press releases lamenting the bill’s failure; Republican Sen. Steve Litzow sent one proclaiming his vote against the bill. Republicans Joe Fain and Andy Hill also were also among those voting against it.
Republican Sen. Mike Hewitt said in a statement, “We could have come up with a better solution than the [Human Rights Commission’s access] rule and still protected the rights of transgender people. The details of that rule make it illegal even to ask if someone is transgender. How are we supposed to prevent abuse of that?” He went on to say that the Senate’s 25-24 rejection of the bill “stomped on your right to privacy.”
With the fall of the Senate axe, Ericksen’s bill was removed from consideration this session, leaving only one other so-called similar bill in play.