A woman chants during a protest against the Trump administration's move to rescind guidance allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice, in Manhattan, New York, Feb. 23, 2017. Reuters

Texas House of Representatives late Sunday approved a proposal that would prevent transgender students from using the bathrooms of their choice in school, reports said. However, this bill will only be applicable to public and charter schools in the state.

The Senate Bill 2078 was amended by a vote of 91-50. It needs one more vote to make it official. If the proposal is passed by the Senate, Texas will become the second state in U.S. to pass such a bill, a Dallas News report said. During the debate session, Democrats compared the proposal to a Jim Crow-era attack on powerless children while the Republicans argued it did not target any specific group.

Read: Americans Don't Want Transgender Bathroom Laws: Here's Proof

“America has long recognized that separate but equal is not equal at all. What’s wrong with treating kids with equality and not making them feel like they are second-class citizens?” Senfronia Thompson, a Democrat from Houston, said during the debate.

“There is absolutely no intent, and I would argue nothing in this language discriminates against anybody. We want to make sure we provide definitive guidance to our school districts,” Republican representative Chris Paddie, who started the debate, said. “It’s absolutely about child safety. This is about accommodating all kids.”

Transgender bathroom
A sign protesting a recent North Carolina law restricting transgender bathroom access adorns the bathroom stalls at the 21C Museum Hotel in Durham, North Carolina, May 3, 2016. Reuters

If passed, the bill would reverse existing policies at some schools which give transgender students the right to use the bathroom of their choice. According to the new measure, transgender students would be allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice only if no other students are present in the room. If other students are around, they would be required to use either a facility for whatever gender was assigned them at birth, or the bathrooms built specifically for transgender students in some schools.

At present, most schools in the state accommodate transgender students according to their own rules. Once the bill is passed, they will have to abide by the new law. The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) termed Sunday’s vote “a common sense solution”.

“The language captures in law a solution many districts already use locally, seeking a balance between ensuring privacy and security for all students and respecting the dignity of all students,” Dax González, TASB assistant director of government relations said in a statement.

During Barack Obama's presidency, the U.S. Department of Education had tried to implement a measure allowing all transgender students in schools to choose bathrooms and lockers of their choice. However, a lawsuit was filed in Texas challenging the order, which later got suspended by a federal judge. After Donald Trump assumed office as the 45th president of the United States, he repealed the order in February, the Associated Press reported.

The new Texas proposal has been widely criticized by top firms, chambers of commerce and lobbyists stating that it is bad for business.