A sexual assault survivor from Lewisville and police chiefs from San Antonio, Houston and Austin were among a group who spoke out Tuesday against the controversial bathroom bill on the steps of the Texas Capitol in Austin.
In addition to calling the bill unnecessary, law enforcement leaders discussed how the bill could lead to new problems for officers and additional discrimination against the transgender community.
Each police chief said they found no evidence of a threat that would spur the need for a bill that would require people to use the public restroom assigned to their biological sex.
"I believe if you propose a bill to address a criminal justice concern, it's important to determine if you actually have a problem," said San Antonio Police Chief Williams McManus. "This bill is a solution looking for a problem."
Fifteen people, including Dallas Police Major Reuben Ramirez, shared their opposition to Senate Bill 3, which is supported by Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
"Statistically, in the city of Dallas, we went back to 2014 and found zero claims of citizens being violated by the very idea this bill purports to protect them from," Ramirez said. "... Look at the research. Look at the statistics. If you support your police, then listen to your police. There's no need for this legislation."
Lavinia Masters, of Lewisville, said she was violently assaulted at the age of 13 when someone broke into her home. While supporters of SB 3 say it will protect against predators, Masters called it propaganda and a distraction from "real crimes that are happening right now."
"If lawmakers really want to make the state of Texas greater and safer, then legislation should focus on the ridiculous amount of backlog of rape kits sitting on those shelves," she said.
Businesses across the state have joined together in opposition to the bill as hundreds of others have descended on the Capitol to appeal to lawmakers.