Second Florida House panel advances transgender bathroom bill

Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee.

Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida state House panel on Tuesday advanced a bill that would limit individuals to using the public restrooms that correspond with their “biological sex, either male or female, at birth.”

Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee.

Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee.

“[A] person who knowingly and willfully enters a single-sex public facility designated for or restricted to persons of the other biological sex commits a misdemeanor of the first degree,” the bill reads.

The bill, passed in the House Government Operations Subcommittee by a vote of 7-5 vote, requires users of single-sex public restrooms to prove their gender or face arrest, reports the Miami Herald.

The measure defines gender as “person’s biological sex, either male or female, at birth,” which critics say targets the transgender community.

The bill was proposed by Miami Republican Frank Artiles, who says it is a response to Miami’s new non-discrimination ordinance. Artiles claims the ordinance, designed to protect trans rights, allows men to legally enter women’s restrooms to assault them.

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But he’s faced fierce criticism from LGBT rights activists who say the bill would instead create new public safety risks by forcing people who present themselves publicly as male to use the women’s room and vice versa.

Artiles’ bill would also create penalties for businesses, schools and governments that don’t have adequate surveillance for same-sex bathroom facilities.

The bill, previously approved by the Civil Justice Subcommittee, now heads to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

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