House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister of Greenville says he does not believe the House will have time this year to take up a controversial Senate bill addressing transgender use of public bathrooms.
His comments signal another challenge for the bill, which must pass the Senate by May 1 to be considered by the House without a special vote.
The bill would bar transgender people from using public bathrooms, changing rooms and locker rooms that do not correspond with their biological sex and prevent local governments from passing legislation allowing such use.
The legislation is similar to a recently enacted North Carolina law. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory issued an executive order Tuesday addressing some provisions in the law though leaving unchanged the most talked about part that requires people to use bathrooms of their sex at birth.
A South Carolina Senate subcommittee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Wednesday on the bill, which was authored by Sen. Lee Bright, a Spartanburg County Republican and co-sponsored by three other Upstate Republicans, Sen. Mike Fair of Greenville, Sen. Kevin Bryant of Anderson, and Sen. Larry Martin of Pickens.
The House was not in session last week when Bright introduced the bill.
"It is unlikely, with all the issues that we have before us that we are going to be addressing Sen. Bright's bill regarding public toilets," Bannister said Tuesday.
Unless the bill requires more testimony than is heard Wednesday morning, the bill will be placed on the next agenda of the full Senate General Committee, Bryant, its chairman, said Monday.
If it passes that committee it would be placed on the Senate calendar. But if it is contested by Democrats on the committee, who have already spoken out against the bill, it would face an uphill battle to be considered for debate because of Senate rules.
The bill also would mandate that state-run parks, museums and other facilities only allow people to use the restrooms and changing facilities that correspond with their biological sex at birth.
The Greenville Chamber of Commerce came out against the bill the day after it was filed, saying it does not promote economic inclusion, growth or competitiveness.