As lawmakers continue to meet in state capitols around the country, HRC is tracking more than 115 anti-LGBTQ bills in 30 states.* The states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, 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:
Alabama House moved forward HB 24, a bill that would allow state-licensed and funded child-placing agencies to disregard the best interest of children and turn away qualified Alabamians seeking to care for a child in need -- including LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced, or other parents to whom the agency has a religious objection. The measure would even allow agencies to refuse to place foster children with members of their own extended families -- a practice often considered to be in the best interest of the child. A qualified, loving LGBTQ grandparent, for example, could be deemed unsuitable under the proposed law. The Alabama legislature is on break now until the first of April.
After introducing a slew of anti-LGBTQ bills on the last day of bill filing, Arkansas lawmakers continued last week to go after LGBTQ people. On Wednesday, a senate judiciary committee held a hearing around SB 774, an anti-trans bill reminiscent of provisions of HB2 that would restrict the use of restroom and locker room facilities in public buildings to a single sex, defined as “a person’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth.” And on Friday, HB 1986 passed out of the House. This piece of anti-trans legislation could effectively make it criminal for a transgender person to access a sex-segregated space consistent with their gender identity. Meanwhile, both HB1894 and HB1628 failed in committee.
On Friday, Governor Bivens signed SB 17 into law, making it the second anti-LGBTQ bill to be enacted in the 2017 legislative session. This legislation will allow student groups at public high schools, colleges and universities to discriminate against LGBTQ students and use public funds to do so.
Last week, the New Mexico legislature passed a bill banning so-called “conversion therapy” for minors. After clearing the Senate last month, the bill, SB 121, passed through the House by a vote of 44-23 and will now head to the governor’s desk.
Even with the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships underway, the North Carolina legislature continues their inertia in addressing HB2. With the start of the tournament last week, HRC and Equality North Carolina came together with students from multiple universities and colleges in Greensboro to call attention to the fact that games that would have been played in Greensboro were moved to Greenville, SC, due to HB2. And mid-week, the NCAA responded to a public letter from 80 organizations with a strong affirmation of their commitment to only consider tournament cities that have inclusive protections.
Tennessee continues to have one of the busiest legislative sessions, with lawmakers considering 17 anti-LGBTQ bills, many of which are moving quickly through committees. Bills include:
- HB 888, a bill that would deny transgender students access to the correct bathrooms and locker rooms at both K-12 and public universities in Tennessee. It was deferred yesterday to next week's calendar of the Education Administration & Planning subcommittee.
- Today, SB 771, the companion anti-transgender bathroom and locker room bill, was heard in the Senate Education Committee. The bill failed in the Senate Education committee; failing to receive a motion to be heard. The House companion, HB 888, will be heard next week.
- HB 892, known as the “TN Natural Marriage Defense Act,” a bill that seeks to defy the Supreme Court of the United States ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, was been rolled to next week's Civil Justice Subcommittee calendar.
- HB 54 known as the “Business License to Discriminate bill,” is awaiting consideration in the House State Government Subcommittee. The senate companion, SB 127 has already passed through the senate.
Last week, with a 21-10 vote, the Texas Senate approved SB 6, the anti-trans legislation moving in the state. All republicans and one democrat supported the bill. The vote came after more than four hours of debate in front of a packed Senate Chamber. The bill now moves to the House where it’s path is much more uncertain. Already this week, nearly a thousand activists from across the state gathered Monday in Austin for All In For Equality advocacy day to oppose SB6 and the 16 other anti-LGBTQ bills in the Lone Star State.
Add your voice to theirs by opposing anti-LGBTQ legislation in the Lone Star State through our Virtual Lobby Day.
Before adjourning sine die early last week, the Utah Senate gave final approval to HB 369, a bill that enhances penalties for HIV and Hepatitis B and C nondisclosure. The bill currently awaits action by Governor Gary Herbert.
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.