January 29, 2024
36 states are currently in session as of January 25
Sessions beginning next week [the week of February 4]: AL, OK, CO, CT, OR
Over 325 anti-LGBTQ+ bills
At least 130 are specifically anti-transgender
Bathroom bills are among most common anti-LGBTQ+ legislative attacks
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN AMERICA:
Last week, the Utah legislature fast tracked HB 257, a bill to ban transgender youth from accessing bathrooms that would bar transgender students from using restrooms and locker rooms that align with who they are, and restrict access to changing rooms in government owned or operated facilities for transgender people of all ages. As HRC President Kelley Robinson said: “This bill is an invasion of the privacy of Utahns. No student should be denied access to the bathroom that aligns with who they are. No one should fear harassment in the most private of settings. Period.”
This year, we have already seen several other pieces of legislation filed that would restrict access to restrooms and similar places. In fact, so-called “bathroom bills'' are among the most common types of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation filed at this time. These bills are reminiscent of HB2, which was signed into law in North Carolina in 2016, and represent a deeply concerning trend that threatens the privacy of transgender people across the country.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING THIS WEEK:
All eyes are on Utah Governor Spencer Cox, as HB 257 awaits his signature or veto.
OTHER THINGS WE’RE WATCHING:
Arizona: HB2569, a bill repealing the state’s anti-transgender sports ban, was introduced and has been assigned to the House Education Committee. Additionally, HB2625, a bill providing nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ+ Arizonans, was assigned to the House Commerce and House Judiciary Committees.
Michigan: Four positive bills have been introduced in the Michigan House since the start of this year’s session. HB 5300 would allow for family court to change names for individuals, including minors, upon request. HB 5301, HB 5302, and HB 5303 are all bills that would allow individuals to indicate a sex designation of "M," "F," or "X" on their applications for driver’s licenses, state identification cards and birth certificates.
Pennsylvania: The Fairness Act (SB150/HB300), which would enshrine in law nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ residents of the Commonwealth, passed its initial chamber last year and currently awaits action in the Senate.
Arizona: On January 22nd, the Arizona House Health and Human Services committee held a hearing on HB2183, a forced outing bill that would require healthcare entities to provide access to minors’ medical records, including for services that do not require parental approval, such as emergency mental health treatment. HB239, an LGBTQ+ Erasure Act, has been introduced and assigned to the House Government Committee. HRC is also tracking movement on SCR 1013, a ballot referral that would restrict transgender students from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity and allow educators to refuse to use their proper names. If passed through both chambers, this would not require the Governor’s signature and would go directly to the November ballot for consideration.
An LGBTQ+ Erasure Act (HB1233). This sweeping bill defines “sex” for the purposes of state law and regulation to be based on a person’s chromosomes, unaltered hormones, and genitalia at birth and requires all new and replacement state IDs to list sex assigned at birth, requires health insurance policies to cover detransition care and conversion therapy. It is currently in the Health and Human Services Committee and has not yet been scheduled for consideration.
An anti-transgender healthcare ban (HB1639), passed favorably in the Select Committee on Health Innovation agenda. It has not yet been scheduled in the Insurance & Banking Committee, where it heads next.
A ‘Don’t Say LGBTQ+’ bill (SB1382/HB599) affecting business and nonprofit organizations. This bill prohibits the state, counties, and municipalities from requiring an employee to honor the pronouns of a transgender or nonbinary person, prohibits government employees from sharing titles and pronouns if they do not align with the person’s sex assigned at birth, and makes it an illegal employment practice to require an employee to receive trainings, instruction, or “any other activity” related to sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. This bill is awaiting committee assignment.
Georgia: Several anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the state Senate including a curriculum censorship bill with a forced outing component (SB88), restrictions on access to gender affirming care (SB141), a religious refusal bill (SB180), and an anti-drag show bill (HB 840)
Missouri: Last week, This week, the Missouri House Emerging Issues Committee passed several anti-LGBTQ+ bills, including: A ban on gender affirming care for transgender youth (HB1520), a bill allowing for religious refusal in healthcare services (HB1519), and two bills preventing transgender people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity (HB2355 and HB2357). An LGBTQ+ Erasure Act (HB2309) and another anti-transgender bathroom bill (HB1674), are currently in committee.
Ohio: On January 24th, the Ohio Senate voted to override Governor DeWine’s veto of HB 68, a bill banning gender affirming care for transgender youth and bars transgender youth from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. The bill will go into effect in 90 days.
South Carolina: On January 19th, the South Carolina House passed a ban on gender affirming care for transgender youth (HB4624). The bill now moves to the Senate, where it was assigned to the Committee for Medical Affairs.
Allow parents to object to materials or activities in schools because they question beliefs or practices regarding sex, morality, or religion,
Redefine the legal concept of “parental rights”, including related to gender affirming healthcare,
Mandate forced outing of LGBTQ+ students to their parents, and
Impose “Don't Say LGBTQ+” curriculum censorship in schools.
THE LAST WORD:
“These escalating national attacks on the humanity of transgender people, from assaults on medical freedom in Ohio to this assault on access to bathrooms and other facilities in Utah, are an affront to American values. The American people will not stand for this invasion into our basic freedoms; they will speak up at state legislatures across the country and, if they are ignored, at ballot boxes in November.”
Kelley Robinson, HRC President in the Los Angeles Blade
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