February 5, 2024
39 states are currently in session as of February 5
Additional sessions beginning this week: AL, CT
Over 340 anti-LGBTQ+ bills
At least 140 are specifically anti-transgender
Two anti-LGBTQ+ bills have passed into law (OH, UT)
One pro-equality bill has passed into law (ME)
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN AMERICA:
Last Tuesday, Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed HB257, the anti-transgender bill, in the dead of night after it was fast-tracked through the legislature. The new law restricts transgender students from using restrooms and locker rooms that align with who they are and bans access to changing rooms in government owned or operated facilities for transgender people of all ages. It took effect immediately upon signature from the governor.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, in partnership with the Equality Federation, released the newest edition of its State Equality Index (SEI), the most comprehensive survey of state-level commitment to LGBTQ+ equality. The report details a chilling state of affairs for LGBTQ+ Americans based on the 2023 legislative season, throughout which lawmakers introduced more than 550 anti-LGBTQ+ bills. In addition to covering the broad array of harmful legislation introduced, it also highlights a new escalation of legislative attacks we saw in some states, such as Florida’s new law limiting the type of providers who may provide gender affirming care, restricting healthcare not only for transgender youth, but for trans adults as well.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING THIS WEEK:
An anti-transgender bathroom bill (HB183) is on the move in the Ohio House, with a potential floor vote as early as Wednesday.
OTHER THINGS WE’RE WATCHING:
Michigan: A hearing has been scheduled in the House Judiciary Committee for Wednesday at 10am for four pro-LGBTQ+ bills. HB5300 would allow for family court to change names for individuals, including minors, upon request. HB5301, HB5302, and HB5303 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.
Last week, the House Health and Human Services Committee passed HB2183, a forced outing bill that would require healthcare entities to provide parents access to minors’ medical records, including for services that do not require parental approval, such as emergency mental health treatment.
SCR1013, 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, has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee. The current deadline for the bill to be heard in committee is February 16th and, if passed through both chambers, would not require the governor’s signature and would go directly to the November ballot for consideration.
SB1166, a forced outing bill, was introduced and assigned to the Senate Education Committee.
Florida: Last Thursday, HB1639, a bill that makes insurance coverage of gender-affirming care for adults conditional on the coverage of detransition care - which should already be covered - and requires insurers to offer options that exclude coverage for gender affirming care as part of their option package, passed through the Insurance & Banking Subcommittee despite significant opposition. This is the bill’s second committee stop. It now heads to the Infrastructure Strategies Subcommittee where it is likely to be heard next Thursday before hitting the House floor. This bill would also require driver’s licenses and other state-issued ID to reflect a person’s sex assigned at birth rather than their gender identity.
Missouri: Last week, the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee passed SB729, a bill mandating forced outing of LGBTQ+ students and allowing for educators to refuse to use students’ proper names. SB1274, a bill discriminating against transgender students in school bathrooms and locker rooms has been referred to the Senate Emerging Issues Committee along with SB1185 and SB1246, bills to remove the sunset provisions for gender affirming care ban and sports ban, respectively.
HB 396, which would allow for discrimination in multi-user restrooms or locker rooms, in athletics, and in prisons, juvenile detention, or other facilities where people are involuntarily committed for treatment, originally passed in the House (its first chamber) on January 4th but had a reconsideration motion filed for another chance to kill the bill. On Thursday, the reconsideration motion was up for a vote and failed 187-190.
The Senate Education Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on SB524, an anti-transgender sports ban, on Tuesday at 9am. The House Education and Senate Education committees each held hearings last week on additional anti-transgender sports bans, HB1205 and SB 375 respectively.
Ohio: HB 183 (HRC opposes), a bill preventing transgender people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity, has been scheduled for a fifth committee hearing and possible vote on Wednesday at 9:30am. It could be fast-tracked to the House floor immediately thereafter.
Last Tuesday, HB1632, an anti-LGBTQ+ curriculum censorship bill, was recommended for passage to the House Education Administration Committee by the K-12 subcommittee.
This Tuesday, the Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on SB620, an anti-LGBTQ+ bill that would allow parents to object to materials or activities in schools because they question beliefs or practices regarding sex, morality, or religion.
THE LAST WORD:
“These attacks are out of touch with the American people – and they are a losing political strategy. We are the majority, and we will not stop until we are setting new records in support of LGBTQ+ people in every corner of the country."
Kelley Robinson, HRC President in the The Advocate
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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