January 23, 2024
36 states are currently in session as of Jan 18
Sessions beginning this week: UT, AK, NM, HI
2024 is on track to eclipse 2023’s record number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills filed nationwide
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN AMERICA:
As we begin a new year, anti-equality lawmakers appear to be determined to expand on last year’s unprecedented record of extremist, anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. While continuing to infringe on the rights of their state’s children and families, these politicians repeatedly add insult to injury by insisting they know better than parents, schools, and doctors when it comes to caring for LGBTQ+ people. LGBTQ+ people throughout the United States remain in a state of emergency as attacks continue to be levied against them and show no signs of slowing down.
At the same time, we are seeing states with pro-equality legislative majorities move on legislation that would provide robust protections for the LGTBQ+ community if passed. These legislatures are aligning themselves not just the majority of their constituents, but the majority of the American people.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING THIS WEEK:
All eyes are on the Ohio State Senate, as they convene Wednesday, January 24 to consider an override of Governor Mike DeWine’s December veto of HB 68, a bill that would ban gender affirming care and sports participation for transgender youth. The Ohio House returned from the holidays early to vote to override the Governor’s veto.
Still looming in the state are proposed new regulations that unnecessarily and discriminatorily impact the ability of transgender people to access medically necessary healthcare and create new hurdles for trans people - of any age - to receive health care related to their transition. Comments on the first slate of regulations are closed, and comments on the second slate are due late next week.
OTHER THINGS WE’RE WATCHING:
Arizona: A bill providing nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ+ Arizonans, was introduced and received its first reading in the House this week and is currently awaiting a committee assignment (HB2625). Also introduced was a bill protecting the right to same-sex marriages in the state (HCR2017).
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.
Florida: Several anti-LGBTQ+ bills are currently awaiting consideration including an LGBTQ+ Erasure Act (HB1233), an anti-transgender healthcare ban (HB 1639), and a Don’t Say LGBTQ+ bill impacting businesses and nonprofit organizations (SB1382/HB599)
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, the House Emerging Issues Committee held a hearing on anti-LGBTQ+ bills, including a ban on gender affirming care for transgender youth (HB1520), a bill allowing for religious refusal in healthcare services (HB1519), bills preventing transgender people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity (HB2308, HB 2357), and an LGBTQ+ Erasure Act (HB2309)
New Hampshire: Earlier this month, New Hampshire passed two pieces of legislation through the House which are pending further action in the Senate. HB 619 is a combination of several types of anti-transgender legislation: it combines bans on gender-affirming care for those under 18 (including some mental health care) with “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” and would require deadnaming of students, and would prohibit transgender students from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity. Additionally, HB 396 would allow for discrimination against transgender people in multi-user restrooms or locker rooms, in athletics, and in prisons, juvenile detention, or other facilities where people are involuntarily committed for treatment.
Ohio: A bill preventing transgender people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity (HB183), has been introduced in committee
Utah: On Friday afternoon, the Utah House passed an anti-transgender bill in the style of North Carolina’s reviled HB2 (HB257). It forbids transgender people from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity in buildings owned or partially owned by the government - including public schools, public universities, airports, stadiums, and more. It would also forbid transgender people from being able to access domestic violence shelters or rape crisis centers consistent with their gender identity, and would require transgender people to be housed in prisons consistent with their assigned sex at birth. On Monday, the bill passed its final committee in the Senate, sending the bill to the Senate floor next.
Wisconsin: A bill to censor school curriculum and allow educators to refuse to use students’ correct names and pronouns (AB510) passed through the Assembly Committee on Family Law. And on January 17, a committee hearing was held on a curriculum censorship bill that would allow parents to choose the name and pronouns of students, and opt-out of classes (SB489)
THE LAST WORD:
“As I have been saying now for the last several years, this year is going to see a record number of anti-LGBTQ legislation. And I’m unfortunately here to tell you the same thing again. We are already seeing a very high volume of legislation.”
Cathryn Oakley, HRC Senior Director of Legal Policy in Metroweekly
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