Former Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis said Tuesday that she does not think the Legislature will pass “foul” legislation intended to require transgender individuals to use the public restrooms that correspond to the gender on their birth certificates, or that the Obama administration would deny funding to Texas schools because of the “grandstanding” of state officials.
Davis, who gave up her Tarrant County Senate seat to run what was ultimately a losing campaign for governor against Greg Abbott in 2014, said that even a Republican Legislature would scuttle restroom legislation that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has indicated he may seek in the next legislative session.
“I’ve seen bad things die a quiet death” in the Texas House and Senate, said Davis, best known for her unquiet 2013 filibuster, which temporarily delayed enactment of new abortion restrictions in Texas and made her a national cause celebre for Democrats and feminists and catapulted her into the run for governor.
Davis also said that while the Obama administration could under Title 9 of the Civil Rights Act withhold federal funds from school districts that disobey federal guidance that they allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity, she does not think the administration would do anything to harm local Texas schools.
Davis made the remarks after a taping of an interview with Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-In-Chief Evan Smith for his KLRU Austin public radio show Overheard.
Attorney General Ken Paxton sued last week on behalf of Texas and 10 other states to block the federal policy, and even as Davis was being interviewed, Patrick was holding a news conference at which he said he is sending letters directing all Texas superintendents to ignore the policy while it’s being litigated.
In the interview, Davis said the best rebuke to Patrick for what she considers an act of naked political opportunism would be to “kick him out of office.”
Smith suggested to Davis that he could see her running against Sen. Ted Cruz when the Texas Republican’s seat is up in 2018, but Davis would only say that she might run for office again someday.