The shenanigans have started – or, if you wish, the shenanigans had already started, but have gotten worse this week.
The Republicans in the state legislator are blowing past the normal legislative process to fast-track multiple bad bills. They are skipping sending the bills to committee, instead bringing them right out of the Committee on Committees and onto the chamber floor for a vote, thus bypassing the ability of the public to have a say.
In the House, they just couldn’t wait to stick it to unions once again. HB 364 says that public employees cannot have their union dues deducted from their paycheck, which has been done since time immemorial. Instead, they have to pay their union dues outside of the pay process, which of course means that some will decide it’s too much of a hassle and just stop paying them. But of course, the benefits of union membership will still accrue to those employees. Still another stick in the eye of unions by Republicans (who HATE unions).
But even worse is the “let’s cause more teen suicides” bill, HB 470, which will outlaw all gender transition services for anyone under 18. As outlined by Olivia Krauth in this story, the bill would:
- Outlaw anything to help youth transition, including using the student’s correct pronouns or new name
- Cause any health care providers who provide transition-related services to lose their license
- Pull state funding from any organization providing such services
- Require health care providers to report any under-18 gender-affirming care, or face criminal charges
- Require educators to out trans and non-binary kids to their parents
And of course, the Senate was not to be outdone. They took SB 5, the so-called “harmful to minors” bill, right out of the ConC and gave it a first reading without any hearings. This is basically a “ban the books” bill, where any parent can file a complaing about any material within the school that they find offensive. And even if the school system (principal, superintendent, board) find that the complaint has no merit and allow the material to remain in the school, the parent can still demand that the school system make sure their child cannot get at the material.