Post submitted by Hayley Miller, former HRC Associate Director of Digital and Social
As lawmakers continue to meet in state capitols around the country, HRC is tracking more than 100 anti-LGBTQ bills in 29 states.* The states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Here are a few states and pieces of legislation to keep a close eye on in the coming weeks:
Late last week, Arkansas lawmakers introduced a dangerous bill that would prohibit changes to a person’s gender marker on their birth certificate, a move that would disproportionately affect transgender Arkansans. HB 1894, would make an onerous process even more difficult for transgender Arkansans seeking to have their identification documents reflect their gender identity.
SB 17, a bill that would, among other things, allow student groups at colleges, universities, and high schools to discriminate against LGBTQ students, passed the House yesterday in an 81 to 8 vote. It passed through the Senate last month and now heads to Governor Matt Bevin for consideration.
After nearly a year of unprecedented economic suffering and discrimination, North Carolina’s House and Senate leaders have failed to undo the damage they inflicted on the state and fully repeal HB 2. A Republican-led proposal, HB 186 would once again single out LGBTQ people for discrimination. Here are a few things to know about HB 186:
- Like HB 2, HB 186 would make North Carolina the only state in the nation with a law singling out transgender people for discrimination.
- Cities would not be able to pass meaningful non-discrimination ordinances - precisely the kinds of protections that the NCAA has been asking bidders to include in their tournament applications.
- HB 186 would forbid cities from prohibiting discrimination in public facilities, and would embed in any local ordinance a sweeping license to discriminate based on religious beliefs and more.
Last Thursday, the blatantly anti-LGBTQ SB 149 passed the South Dakota House. It had already passed the Senate. The legislation now goes to Gov. Daugaard for consideration. If enacted, SB 149 would enshrine taxpayer-funded discrimination into state law by allowing state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to reject prospective LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents based on the agency’s purported religious beliefs.
Last year, Governor Daugaard vetoed HB 1008, legislation that attacked the rights of transgender children in public schools by attempting to force them to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity. Daugaard said that meeting with transgender students in his state “put a human face” on the legislation’s potential effect, and helped him to see things “through their eyes.”
In Tennessee, SB 127, a bill that would allow contractors with state or local governments to discriminate against LGBTQ people, was referred to the Senate calendar and could be heard by the full Senate at any moment. Tomorrow, anti-transgender SB 771 will be heard in Senate Ed Committee tomorrow and another anti-trans bill, HB 888, will be heard in Senate Ed Subcommittee.
Today there is a public hearing on SB 6, which would overturn non-discrimination ordinances currently providing critical protections in several major Texas cities; further, it would force state agencies, municipalities, public schools and public universities to discriminate against transgender people. By making it illegal for transgender people in Texas to be afforded access to facilities consistent with their identity, it opens them up to increased discrimination and harassment as they simply live their everyday lives. It also exposes Texas to tremendous risk of the kind of financial, legal, and political blowback that North Carolina has continued to reckon with after the passage of HB2.
HRC is calling on our members and supporters to pledge to oppose any discriminatory legislation. Take action today.
*Note - HRC and other organizations use different criteria for labeling bills as anti-LGBTQ, therefore numbers may not align across organizations.