AUSTIN, Texas Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott endorsed a “bathroom bill” for the first time. Abbott’s sudden public support following months of silence is significant. By now calling on the Republican-controlled Legislature to send him a bill before the end of May, Texas is thrust closer to joining North Carolina as the only states in the U.S. with so-called “bathroom bills” that critics condemn as discriminatory.

“As the debate on this issue continues, I will work with the House and Senate to ensure we find a solution and ultimately get a bill to my desk that I will sign into law,” Abbott said in a statement.

The proposal has been championed by alt. Gov. Dan Patrick and will be discussed today in a Texas House committee hearing. The Senate bill would require transgender Texans to use the public restroom facilities that match their birth gender. The House bill, intended to be more business friendly, would prevent cities from adopting local laws that protect transgender Texans in bathrooms.

There is also how the bill would impact sporting organizations, events and tournaments held in the state.

Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton spoke with CBS 11 News and said he can understand why people feel passionate about the bill, because it’s an issue that impacts people directly or indirectly.

The NBA, NFL and businesses including Facebook and Google have previously warned Texas against adopting a bill similar to one that was recently repealed in North Carolina.

Banning transgender people from public bathrooms could cost the Texas economy $3.3 billion and 35,600 jobs, according to a study released Monday.

When asked about the possibility of losing big events Simmons said his main concern is protecting Texans. “We’re open for business in Texas,” he said. “This doesn’t affect private businesses; they can do what they want to. If somebody controls the stadium lease they can do what they want to there. So we’re not controlling what they do from a private business standpoint.”

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