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LGBTQ rights supporters gather at the Texas state capitol to protest state Republican-led efforts to pass legislation that would restrict the participation of trans student athletes. Photo: Tamir Kalifa via Getty Images

The Texas House voted 76-54 Thursday to pass legislation that would require public school students to play on sports teams based on their assigned sex at birth, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: The bill, which Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is poised to sign into law, would make Texas one of nine states that passed laws targeting tans youth this year.

  • Republicans backing the bills say the legislation ensures fairness in women's sports, although multiple states that have passed bills — including Arkansas and West Virginia — have been unable to provide evidence of trans athletes gaining unfair advantages in competitions, Axios' Orion Rummler writes.

Details: The House's Democrat-chaired public education committee had prevented three previous attempts to push the bill through the chamber.

  • The Texas Senate passed its own version of the bill last month.
  • The House version now goes back to the state Senate for procedural approval before it heads to Abbott's desk.

What they're saying: State Rep. Celia Israel (D), a founding member of the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus, choked up on the floor describing her own coming-out story and speaking against the legislation.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Asher Price: Coming four years after business interests killed a bathroom bill that would have required transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings and public universities based on "biological sex," the success of this legislation shows the socially conservative wing of the Texas GOP is ascendant.

The big picture: 2021 has seen a record number of bills targeting trans youth.

  • "This has become the next political weapon," openly trans and nonbinary WNBA player Layshia Clarendon told Axios in August.

Go deeper

House passes voting rights bill

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed voting rights legislation, approving a measure that combines the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Amendment Act.

Driving the news: The package will be sent to the Senate, where it faces an uphill battle because of Republican opposition. Democrats are considering changing the Senate's filibuster rules to pass the bill.

Sinema cites "disease of division," says she won't support changing filibuster rules

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) reiterated her long-standing support for the 60-vote Senate filibuster during a floor speech Thursday, dampening Democrats' hopes of reforming filibuster rules in order to pass voting rights legislation.

The backdrop: President Biden earlier this week threw his support behind changing filibuster rules in order pass voting rights legislation, and will attend the Senate Democratic caucus lunch later Thursday to make his case.

Arkansas Senators: Don't bust filibuster

Sen. Tom Cotton; Photo: Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images. Sen. John Boozman; Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Both of Arkansas' Republican Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton made statements this week in defense of the chamber's filibuster rule.

Driving the news: President Biden attended the Senate Democratic caucus lunch Thursday to make a case for reforming the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation.

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