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Arizona House approves softened bill targeting the transgendered

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona House panel late Wednesday approved a measure targeting transgendered people who want to use bathrooms of the gender they identify with, voting along party lines to advance a bill that protects business owners who bar the practice.

The 7-4 vote concluded an hours-long parade of transgendered and straight people who tried to persuade the panel to oppose Appropriations Committee chairman Rep. John Kavanagh's bill. The crowd broke out in chants of "shame, shame, shame" as the vote on the bill sponsored by the conservative Republican passed.

Kavanagh had radically altered the bill after being faced with an outcry from advocacy groups, but that wasn't enough to keep about 200 opponents from attending a nearly 7-hour long hearing that concluded with several hours of testimony on the bill.

The original bill would have made it a crime for a transgendered person to use a bathroom other than his or her birth sex. The new bill instead seeks to shield businesses from civil or criminal liability if they ban people from restrooms that don't match their birth sex.

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