Ky. lawmakers pass combo bill; bans gender transitioning services for minors

Kentucky lawmakers passed a bill that will place a ban on gender-transitioning services for...
Kentucky lawmakers passed a bill that will place a ban on gender-transitioning services for minors in the Commonwealth.(WKYT)
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 7:17 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2023 at 7:24 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WXIX) - Kentucky legislatures made some last-minute changes to a bill on Thursday that has now passed the Kentucky General Assembly.

Senate Bill 150, an act relating to rights in public schools, will require educators to notify parents about topics involving sexual matters and will not require educators to use pronouns.

Additionally, lawmakers added parts of House Bill 470 to S.B. 150, which will ban gender-affirming services for minors in the Commonwealth.

Legislatures combined the two bills in the House Education Committee Thursday afternoon.

According to WKYT, S.B. 150 passed out of the committee with a 16-5 vote and went back to the House floor where it passed with a 75-22 vote.

Sen. Danny Carroll (R-Paducah), who serves as the Chair of the Senate Families and Children Committee, voted against the new combination bill.

“What would it hurt to allow doctors to have access to these puberty blockers, to give these kids time to work through the issues they face?” Sen. Carroll asked. “Why can’t we trust our doctors as we do for every other issue to guide us through these things and to make the decision on what dosage and how long? These are medications that are used every day.”

Sen. Lindsey Tichenor (R-Smithfield) cast her vote in favor of this bill, stating that the bill will help protect children from “going down a course to destroy their lives.”

“Some think that’s a parental right - that you should be able to make that decision [for your kids]. I strongly disagree with that,” she said. “I’ve looked at the evidence, I’ve looked at the studies and I’m following it closely in Europe, in particular.

“Children reach an age, about 20 - I guess they’re adults then - to 21 to 25, depending if they’re male or female when their frontal lobe finally develops. If we get them on a course of puberty blockers and we stop the natural progression of what their body is supposed to do - what it’s made to do - to continue to develop, [...] once that brain develops, they can’t go back.”

However, some Democrats are more concerned about what the suicide rate could look like for trans minors if the bill passes.

“Let me be clear, this bill will kill Kentucky kids,” Sen. Cassie Chambers Armstrong emphasized to the Senate Chamber. “And if the people that vote in favor of this bill do not know this, it is only because they do not want to know this.

“The data is clear, the date is consistent, the Journal of the American Medical Association, which is cited in this chamber numerous times for numerous other issues as the leading authority has put out studies of tens of thousands of children that show that allowing children access to this care, which you are about to vote to ban, decreases suicidality, decreases depression and keeps kids alive.”

In response, some Republican legislators saw the modified version of S.B. 150 as a “better” alternative than H.B. 470, such as Sen. Whitney Westerfield (R-Crofton).

“I’m not crazy about this bill. I worry about the harm it might cause,” Westerfield said. “But it is better than House Bill 470 as we had it in committee a few days ago. It makes improvements for what doctors are able to do, what they can say, answer questions, talk, which I didn’t think they’d be free to do without liability under 470 as we had it last night.”

After a heated debate, Senators passed S.B. 150 with a 30-7 vote.

The bill is now on its way to Gov. Andy Beshear’s desk.

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