I would like to wrap up the key bills I have been tracking this year. It has been a hard year for keeping up and have been more focused on ones specifically directed at the Transgender and greater LGBTQ+ community. Had I tried to track everything that impacted us tangentially, I couldn’t have kept up.
I have talked often about us having three areas of interventions when we transition. I am going to group the bills in that fashion to highlight the impacts to basic transition.
SB0100 – School Gender Identity Policies. This dictates that if a youth wants to change their name or gender on their official record, the parents will be contacted and must approve in writing. I feel there is misunderstanding on this one and want to go a little further in the write-up. We are talking about the *official* record. If you change this without a parent’s permission, they will know quickly as the name and gender will appear on report cards, emails, and in the online system for parents. Many are saying this outs youth, but I am more neutral. If a youth wants to change their official record, they are coming out. I suspect the negative reaction is because of two things. One is that it originally had an outing statement in it, but that was removed, but that might have set the view of it. The other is that when you have a number of bills that harm you, we get into a defensive mode. Signed by the Governor on February 16th and now law.
HB0209 – Participation in Extracurricular Activities Amendments. This came on my radar after it was already moving because of this statement: “prohibits a public school from participation in an athletics association that does not collect and review an athlete’s birth certificate during the registration process”. You will see this wording also in HB0463, which is a standalone bill. My take on this, and I am asking a lawyer to confirm, is that this prevents a public school from participating in an association that doesn’t collect birth certificates. The sports ban last year was directed at those under the Utah High School Activities Association. Now they appear to want to expand the impact. If a private school doesn’t collect Birth Certificates, then public schools can’t play against them. This also appears to impact inter-state competition. So it is using what leverage possible to impact schools they don’t directly control. Addressing a previous note I had that this would impact those without Birth Certificates, it now has language for alternate identification. This has passed and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.
HB0463 – High School Sports Amendments. This prevents a public school from participating in an association that doesn’t collect birth certificates. The summary from HB0209 applies as it is the same wording but merged into the larger bill. This was in Rules at the end of the session and didn’t pass.
HB0329 – Adult Event Permit Amendments. This is the one that is obviously an attempt to regulate drag shows like the one that was in the news in St George. The problem is that this lets public entities determine what is sexual and then the requirements are placed in effect. So it can impact drag negatively and expand beyond that for any LGBTQ+ event if they wish to sexualize us. Substitute 2 specifically added parades and outdoor events. This was in Rules at the end of the session and didn’t pass.
SB0093 – Birth Certificate Modifications. This started in the Senate as a ban on Birth Certificate changes for those under 18, except for specific items like administrative changes in the first year and for adoptions. This has changed the ban on most changes from being under 18, to being able to go to court for a gender marker change at 15 ½ and change the Birth Certificate at 16 years old. It also creates a second page for specific purposes that tracks amendments. The page is not mentioned on the Birth Certificate, which means it track you at Vital Statistics and HB0209 requires its submission for sports participation. Additionally, it now provides a lot of language for the courts in making their decision. This has passed and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.
SB0154 – Adoption Amendments. This allows for religious objections to providing foster/adoption services. It has been changed to put all providers in a consortium and dictates anyone with religious objections will connect the family with a consortium member for service. The result is religious objections are recognized and a path forward is mandated, just with another provider. This has passed and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.
SB0016 – Transgender Medical Treatments and Procedures Amendments. We all know a lot about this one now and I will need to do a separate write up on this due to its significant language, impact, and the pending lawsuit. Signed by the Governor on January 28th and now law. Lawsuit by NCLR and ACLU is pending.
HB0132 – Prohibiting Sex Transitioning Procedures on Minors. This was voted down in committee in the same meeting SB0016 was passed, so the committee apparently made their choice which one to move forward on. This was in Rules at the end of the session and didn’t pass.
HB0228 – Unprofessional Conduct Amendments. Can it be? A good bill? This started off allowing all kinds of Talk Therapy, which is what modern day Conversion Therapy is. The sponsor (thank you!) brought in Equality Utah and others and the wording was updated to address all concerns. Many lawyers signed off on the wording. A very uncommon event then happened where it passed through the House and Senate on Unanimous votes for passing it. So we have a Conversion Therapy Ban in law where it was previously a Department of Professional Licensing rule. This has passed and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.