Kentucky General Assembly overrides governor’s veto on heavily debated transgender, education bill

The bill bans minors from receiving gender transition services
General Assembly overrides governor's veto on bill banning gender transitions
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 3:13 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2023 at 10:38 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WXIX) - The Kentucky General Assembly voted to override Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of Senate Bill 150, a heavily debated act relating to minors, children in the classroom and parental rights.

S.B. 150 will create multiple rules and policies for public schools, educators and doctors, which include:

  • A ban on gender-affirming services for minors, such as hormones from a doctor or surgeries.
  • Requiring educators to notify parents about what they will be teaching in the classroom, especially when it is of sexual nature.
  • Prohibiting educators from talking about sexuality with students in the classroom.
  • Requiring educators to report to parents if there is a change in their child’s emotional, mental or physical health.
  • Requiring schools to create a bathroom policy based on students’ birth sex.

Now that the General Assembly has overridden the governor’s veto, Rep. Rachel Roberts (D-Newport) tells FOX19 that she expects there to be several lawsuits.

“We’re going to tell LGBTQ kids that they are less, that they are not wanted [with this legislation],” Roberts explained. “We’re going to roll back a lot of progress we’ve made over the last 20, 30 years.”

Protestors could be heard from outside the walls of the Kentucky capitol on Wednesday, and some even lined the gallery of the Senate and House Chambers while legislatures debated the bill. However, they were removed by law enforcement moments later.

During the debate on the House floor, Rep. Daniel Grossberg (D-Louisville) mentioned his first campaign intern and friend, Henry Berg, who is Sen. Karen Berg’s (D-Louisville) son.

“When someone dies, the Jewish custom is not to say ‘may he rest in peace,’ it is to say, ‘may his memory be a blessing.’ So let me share the memory of the son of one of our colleagues,” Grossberg said. “[Henry] was a beacon of light in an otherwise dark world. He was brave, he was bright and he was kind. He fought for a better future.

“Three months ago, Henry killed himself - not because he couldn’t accept himself for being trans; he killed himself because others rejected him for it. What Henry did that day was a tragedy. What you are doing here today is a travesty. But we can do better.”

While opposers of S.B. 150 believe the suicide rate for minors will increase with this legislation, proponents believe it would do the opposite, including Sen. Gex Williams (R-Kenton).

“I have a CDC report from 2019 where the largest killer of children 10-24, of children 14-19, is suicide, not murder as it used to be,” Williams said. “[...] When you introduce drugs into a child’s body to fight the 30 to 40 trillion cells that are telling them one thing and those drugs are fighting them every day and you’re signing them up for a lifetime of drug use, eventually, those drugs have side effects. And just like other drugs that are used off-schedule or illegally, they cause suicide rates to increase.”

In terms of the educational component, the sponsor of S.B. 150, Sen. Max Wise (R-Taylor) told the chamber that the goal of the bill is to strengthen parental engagement and communication with educators.

In addition, the bill will make students use the restroom with their assigned sex and not their preferred gender.

“We’re having to make decisions because there are school districts who cannot legislate on their own common sense in bathrooms, locker rooms, and shower rooms. It’s a matter of personal safety,” Wise said. “Students should not be fearful about something that could happen to them behind closed doors of a restroom or locker room.”

Originally, S.B. 150 was a bill relating to communication between educators and parents regarding school policies. However, legislatures made a last-minute change to the bill on March 16.

The House Education Committee added sections from House Bill 470, which bans medical professionals from providing gender-affirming services to minors, even if the parents consent.

The bill passed the House, and went back to the Senate for a vote where it passed 30-7 just before the veto period.

For the second time, S.B. 150 received overwhelming support from the General Assembly, overriding Beshear’s veto.

“You all may think this is over, but I’ve got news for you: We are just getting started,” Rep. Grossberg said. “To the LGBTQ children listening, you are not broken. Your government is.”

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