John C Moritz , USA Today Network
AUSTIN – During much of the regular session of the Texas Legislature, Gov. Greg Abbott seldom went out of his way to call attention to the House-Senate ongoing impasse over the so-called bathroom bill, and some of his critics faulted him for not getting out front on a host of other measures either.
But as the countdown clock starts ticking toward the July 18 start of the special election, Abbott has made a point of getting out front on the myriad issues he wants lawmakers to tackle during what should have been their summer vacation.
But on the bathroom bill, which came to symbolize the rift between Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick – the Senate’s top dog – and House Speaker Joe Straus, Abbott is out front largely in the sense that he wants the matter resolved.
The measure was Patrick’s baby and would have limited the options of transgender people when it came to which restroom they’d use in multi-stall facilities buildings like city halls, public libraries, public schools and such.
Straus never was comfortable with the legislation, siding with business interests who thought such a law would make Texas an unfriendly place for tourism, corporate relocation, high-profile sporting events and the like. In fact, Straus early on implored Abbott to tip his hand so that it might help him decide whether to subject House members to what could be a difficult vote and what would likely cause one more knock-down, nose-bloodying fight on the chamber floor.
Abbott resisted taking the bait for much of the session, until finally saying he saw the value in a state “privacy” law, although he never flat-out endorsed the far-reaching bill that Patrick shepherded through the Senate.