Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Kansas lawmakers fail to override veto of bill banning healthcare for trans kids, two anti-trans bills fail in Mississippi

It was a good Monday and Tuesday for the transgender community. 

Yesterday an hour after I posted about the victory in federal court, news came down that Kansas lawmakers failed to override Governor Laura Kelly's veto on an anti-trans healthcare bill. The bill would have banned gender-affirming are for trans minors. And central to the story is one Republican, who initially supported the bill, changing her vote.

In a dramatic shift, the Kansas legislature failed to override Governor Laura Kelly’s veto of a bill banning gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors. Two Republican lawmakers unexpectedly broke ranks, leading to a major victory for LGBTQ+ advocates and securing access to essential medical care for trans youth in the state.

 The legislation, Senate Bill 233, would have prohibited medical professionals from providing treatments like puberty blockers and hormone therapy to transgender youth. It also aimed to bar state employees from promoting social transitioning for children questioning their gender identity. 

 Governor Kelly vetoed the bill in March, citing its dangerous intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship and the well-being of transgender Kansans. The veto override seemed poised for success, until Representatives Susan Concannon and Jesse Borjon voted against the measure. 

 Rep. Concannon, previously a supporter of the bill, delivered a powerful speech: “We hear of bullying and ask authorities to make it stop. We hear about mental health, about suicide, and ask why. We’re not listening to the impacted youth. Government involvement is not the answer...These decisions belong between the team of professionals and the parents. The youth need our help, not government overreach. For all those who reached out, I hear you, and vote to sustain the governor’s veto.”

And just now as I was working on the above post, this news came from The Associated Press:

Mississippi's Republican-led Legislature will not take final votes on two bills that attempted to restrict legal recognition of transgender people. The bills died quietly when House and Senate leaders failed to agree on compromise versions before a Monday night deadline. Lawmakers were working on several other complex issues at the time.

 One bill would have restricted transgender people’s use of bathrooms and locker rooms in public buildings, including university dormitories. The other would have specified that sex is defined at birth, and that “there are only two sexes, and every individual is either male or female.” 

 In an attempt to restrict transgender people’s use of bathrooms and locker rooms in public buildings, Republican Sen.Josh Harkins authored the Securing Areas for Females Effectively and Responsibly (SAFER) Act. The legislation deemed it necessary to provide male and female areas for each sex’s exclusive use. Lawmakers on the GOP side quickly voiced their support for the bill following an incident at a Planet Fitness gym in Alaska in which a transgender individual identifying as a woman was spotted on video shaving in the women’s locker room.

 . . . The SAFER Act became a national movement as it was backed by Paula Scanlan, a former University of Pennsylvania swimmer who has made waves along with fellow athlete Riley Gaines. Scanlan even made a trip to the Magnolia State to advocate for the bill to create “safe spaces” for women. Nonetheless, the bill, which received pushback from Democratic lawmakers, failed to survive Monday’s deadline and will not make it to the desk of Republican Gov. Tate Reeves.