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Long-time senator speaks out on anti-trans bill, HB 150

“ ... one of the meanest, most destructive pieces of legislation aimed at kids that I have ever witnessed.”

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Senator Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville (photo by LRC Public Information Office)

A statement by state Sen. Denise Harper Angel, from her legislative update newsletter

One measure that passed in the Senate this week, Senate Bill 150, is a controversial bill targeting transgender kids and human sexuality issues in schools. The bill aims to prevent the Kentucky Board of Education and Department of Education from mandating teachers to use certain pronouns that do not align with a student’s biological sex or birth certificate. The bill also requires parental notification regarding issues related to contraceptives, family planning, and human sexuality.

As a 19-year veteran of the state senate, I have seen many pieces of legislation come and go. But this anti-LGBTQ legislation currently being pushed through by some members of the Kentucky General Assembly is one of the meanest, most destructive pieces of legislation aimed at kids that I have ever witnessed. It is heart-wrenching to see lawmakers use their power to single out and marginalize already vulnerable communities, especially when a grieving mother is one of their colleagues.

Our children should be cherished and protected, not used as pawns in political games. The message that this legislation sends to our LGBTQ youth is that they are not valued, that they are not worthy of respect, and that they do not belong. It is a sad day for Kentucky when our legislators are more concerned with scoring political points than protecting the well-being of our children.

I strongly oppose SB 150. The bill’s provisions regarding pronoun usage and parental notification will only further marginalize and stigmatize the transgender community, particularly young students. Furthermore, it violates the fundamental right to dignity and respect for all individuals. As a society, we should be working towards inclusion, not exclusion, and SB 150 does the latter.

Additionally, I am frustrated with the rushed and hasty process of SB 150. The legislation was recommitted to the Senate Education Committee on Thursday with the addition of a committee substitute being used to circumvent the rules of the legislative process without proper scrutiny or debate. In this case, the committee sub was used to waive the amendments filed on the original bill, effectively bypassing the standard 24-hour waiting period for amendments before voting. This flawed process does not allow for adequate time for legislators to review, analyze, and debate the changes made to the bill.

Furthermore, SB 150 was considered by the full Senate only hours after the Senate Education Committee meeting, which raises concerns about transparency and accountability in the legislative process. Lawmakers must take the time to carefully examine and consider the potential impacts of any proposed legislation, particularly one as sensitive as SB 150. That is not the precedent we should be setting as the deliberative body in the legislature.

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