Pressure from Gov. Asa Hutchinson
has prevailed. Sen. Missy Irvin
did not file her bill to make it a sex crime
to use a restroom
identified as for use by a gender other than the one that appears on a person's birth certificate.
She and several House members talked about filing such a bill today, but supporters of Gov. Asa Hutchinson worked to keep it off the agenda as a needless distraction in what is supposed to be a three-day session. One of those House members now says, in effect: "Who, me?," though he does not dispute the seriousness of yesterday's discussions.
A two-thirds vote would be necessary to introduce the bill because it's after filing deadline.
Correction: My information that there was a bill filing deadline was incorrect. Irvin's bill could be filed any time. But a bill must be filed for three days to be passed and that's the obstacle to passage unless it was filed today. But it wasn't.
This is only the end of the beginning. There will be a stampede to the bill clerk in January 2017 of Republicans bearing bathroom bills. Because .... well, it's really a problem out there, right?
Gov. Hutchinson was asked about the bill at a news conference following his session-opening speech, largely devoted to pushing his highway plan. He said he'd opposed the bathroom bill's introduction but said he expected it would come up in 2017. He said he'd work with those who want to work against President Obama's reminder that federal law — statute and court precedent — prohibits discrimination against transgender people in use of facilities. Hutchinson's comment was read widely as sympathetic to the cause of discrimination.