Kentucky House tries to revive anti-trans legislation stalled in Senate

By: - March 16, 2023 4:26 pm

Rep. Josie Raymond, D-Louisville, spoke against the amended SB 150 in committee. (Kentucky Lantern photo by Liam Niemeyer)

FRANKFORT — With time running out in this session, House Republicans tried on Thursday to revive anti-trans legislation that has stalled in the Senate.

In a hastily called committee meeting, provisions restricting health care for trans youth were grafted onto Senate Bill 150, described by sponsor Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, as a “parents rights” measure, which imposes new anti-LGBTQ restrictions on public schools. 

The House approved the hybrid bill  75-22. But its fate is uncertain in the Senate where Republicans oppose some of its elements as too extreme.  

Thursday is the last scheduled legislative day before lawmakers break for a 10-day veto period. They are scheduled to return to Frankfort March 29- 30. Lawmakers could not override any gubernatorial vetoes on bills passed March 29-30.

Although the outcome was never in doubt given House Republicans’ supermajority, House Democrats mounted angry and emotional opposition to the amended bill, blasting Republicans for spending so much time debating legislation targeting less than 1% of the population.

Many of the Republicans left the chamber as the Democrats spoke, leaving Speaker Pro Tem David Meade, R-Stanford,  to defend what had become a wide-ranging measure.

Democrats criticized the hastily called committee meeting which began before some Democrats arrived. “The thing is that if you’re right, if the legislation is right, then let’s do it in the light of day, not under the cover of darkness. Not in secrecy,” said Rep. George Brown Jr., D-Lexington, on the House floor. 

“You cannot erase a group of people,” said Rep. Tina Bojanowski, D-Louisville. “These children will be transgender. They may not get puberty blockers to allow them to have a more fulfilling adulthood, but they will be transgender.” 

Meade insisted the measure is meant to protect children. “If we’re going to protect children we need to ensure that surgery or drugs that completely alter their life and alter their body is not something we should be allowing them until they’re adults and can choose that for themselves,” Meade said. 

Rep. Bill Wesley, R-Ravenna, said, “For all these young ladies and these young adults and these young girls — they do not want boys in the girls bathrooms.”

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Liam Niemeyer
Liam Niemeyer

Liam covers government and policy in Kentucky and its impacts throughout the Commonwealth for the Kentucky Lantern. He most recently spent four years reporting award-winning stories for WKMS Public Radio in Murray.