Kentucky lawmakers struggle to finish transgender bill

Mar 15, 2023, 10:35 PM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican lawmakers in Kentucky struggled to wrap up a bill restricting gender-affirming care for minors, as internal differences complicated their push to beat a Thursday deadline to complete the sweeping proposal denounced by some outside voices within their party.

The Senate scaled back the bill on a razor-thin vote Wednesday night, but action then abruptly halted as the GOP-dominated chamber looked to regroup Thursday. It’s the last day lawmakers will meet until reconvening in late March for the final two days of this year’s session. Lawmakers have to complete work on the bill by Thursday to be able to override a potential veto by Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.

Senate President Robert Stivers said Wednesday night that he didn’t know if some version would ultimately pass, pointing to the “varying opinions.” The chamber voted 19-17 to pare down the bill’s limitations on transgender youth, their families and health care providers.

“This is not the easiest of subject matter topics,” Stivers told reporters.

In a session dominated by culture war issues, the fate of the transgender bill — or what version could win a consensus — might not be decided until late Thursday night. Republican leaders also face having to reconcile differences between the Senate and House, where the GOP also has a supermajority.

The issue has spurred emotional debate from bill opponents who call it discriminatory and say it would hurt transgender youth. On Tuesday, a former Kentucky lawmaker said his young grandchild would be among those affected if lawmakers banned access to gender-affirming medical care for those under 18.

“This bill condemns vulnerable children to an even more difficult life than they’ve already been born into,” Jerry Miller, a Republican who formerly served in the House, told lawmakers. “Please don’t let a parent’s right to protect their children be collateral damage in the culture wars.”

The bill’s supporters say they are trying to protect children from undertaking gender-affirming treatments that they might later regret as adults.

“I don’t think this bill could be strong enough,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Tichenor said during a Senate committee hearing Tuesday. “We’re talking about irreparable, permanent changes to a child. Their brains are not developed … They have no idea what the consequences could be until they get to that age, and at that point you cannot undo what is being done.”

In the latest twist, Republican Sen. Danny Carroll offered the successful amendment Wednesday that scaled back the version that passed the House. Under his language, surgical medical treatments for trans youths would still be barred but some nonsurgical treatment options would be allowed with parental consent. Nonsurgical options allowed would include reversible puberty blockers.

To receive gender-affirming care, a child would have to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria and receive care from a physician and a mental health provider.

The amendment didn’t touch on other layers of the bill that were added by the Senate committee on Tuesday. One addition would allow teachers to refuse to refer to transgender students by their preferred pronouns. It also would require that parents be given notice and an opportunity to review materials before content relating to sexuality is taught at their children’s school.

Nationally, state lawmakers are approving extensive measures against LGBTQ individuals this year, from bills targeting trans athletes and drag performers to ones limiting gender-affirming care. In Mississippi, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves recently signed a bill to ban gender-affirming hormones or surgery in the state for anyone younger than 18. The Republican governors of South Dakota and Utah have signed bans on gender-affirming care this year.

United States News

FILE - This undated photo provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota on June 3, ...

Associated Press

High-profile attacks on Derek Chauvin and Larry Nassar put spotlight on violence in federal prisons

Derek Chauvin was stabbed nearly two dozen times in the law library at a federal prison in Arizona. Larry Nassar was knifed repeatedly in his cell at a federal penitentiary in Florida. The assaults of two notorious, high-profile federal prisoners by fellow inmates in recent months have renewed concerns about whether the chronically understaffed, crisis-plagued […]

3 minutes ago

FILE - Maureen Reid, left, and her guide dog, Gaston, cross the intersection of Wood Street and Roo...

Associated Press

Census Bureau wants to change how it asks about disabilities. Some advocates don’t like it

The U.S. Census Bureau wants to change how it asks people about disabilities, and some advocates are complaining that they were not consulted enough on what amounts to a major overhaul in how disabilities would be defined by the federal government. Disability advocates say the change would artificially reduce their numbers by almost half. At […]

7 minutes ago

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)...

Associated Press

Retail group pulls back on claim organized retail crime accounts for nearly half of inventory loss

The National Retail Federation has revised a report that pulls back the claim that organized retail crime accounts for nearly half of overall industry shrink.

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Hunter Biden indicted on nine tax charges, adding to gun charges in special counsel probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Biden was indicted on nine tax charges in California on Thursday as a special counsel investigation into the business dealings of President Joe Biden’s son intensifies against the backdrop of the looming 2024 election. The new charges — three felonies and six misdemeanors — are in addition to federal firearms charges […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Mother of Florida boy accused of football practice shooting now charged with felony

APOPKA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida woman whose 11-year-old is accused of shooting two teenagers at a football practice in October was charged with a felony Thursday after authorities say she left a loaded gun in a worn and tattered cardboard box in her car. Sharelle Johnson, 33, did not have the box secured and […]

4 hours ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Collins Comfort

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Sponsored Articles

Follow @iamdamonallred...

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]

Kentucky lawmakers struggle to finish transgender bill