State Senate panel narrowly votes to reverse transgender bathroom rule

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A bill that would eliminate Washington's new rule allowing transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms in public buildings consistent with their gender identity passed a Senate committee 4-3 on Wednesday.

Democratic Senators Bob Hasegawa of Seattle and Steve Conway of Tacoma voted against the bill, saying the rule created by the state Human Rights Commission was protecting civil rights.

But the chairman of the Commerce and Labor Committee, Michael Baumgartner, said anyone interpreting the elimination of the policy as "some kind of judgment or castigation of the transgender community," would be wrong.

Baumgartner and many at an earlier hearing argued against the existing policy, saying people might use it to sexually assault women.