search
Sections List
American Journal News

Bathroom restrictions for transgender kids added to Missouri ‘parents bill of rights’

Added as an amendment in committee, a public hearing on the proposal has not taken place in the Senate this year

Glenda Starke wears a transgender flag as a counter protest during a rally in favor of a ban on gender-affirming health care legislation, March 20, 2023, at the Missouri Statehouse in Jefferson City, Mo.
Glenda Starke wears a transgender flag as a counter protest during a rally in favor of a ban on gender-affirming health care legislation, March 20, 2023, at the Missouri Statehouse in Jefferson City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Legislation seeking to create a “parents bill of rights” in Missouri was amended in committee Tuesday morning to add prohibitions on transgender students accessing restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity.

A House hearing on standalone bills that sought to regulate school bathrooms took up the majority of a nearly nine-hour meeting last week. Missourians haven’t had a chance to testify on bathroom restrictions in the Senate this year, a fact that irked Democrats as the committee’s chairman — Republican Sen. Andrew Koenig of Manchester — briefly introduced the amendment.

Koenig added the bathroom amendment shortly before he was removed as chairman of the education committee. He lost his chairmanship Tuesday along with other members of the Senate’s Freedom Caucus following weeks of open warfare with the chamber’s GOP leadership.

Sen. Nick Schroer, a Republican from Defiance, said adding the bathroom amendment was an important step.

“It is a statewide issue that your biological sex matches which locker room and which restroom you’re going into,” Schroer said. “I know several of the school districts in St. Charles County have addressed it, but there’s still a need.”

Greg Razer, a Kansas City Democrat and the Senate’s only openly gay member, attempted to remove it, but his efforts fell short when only Republican Sen. Elaine Gannon of De Soto joined the Democratic committee members in favor of Razer’s proposal.

The original bill would require school staff to report to parents, within 24 hours, if a minor expresses “discomfort or confusion about the student’s documented identity” or desires to change their pronouns.

The bill also specifies that school personnel cannot “encourage a student under the age of 18 years old to adopt a gender identity or sexual orientation.”

Razer offered another amendment Tuesday that would require staff to contact the Missouri Department of Social Services whenever a parent is contacted regarding students’ LGBTQ status. The school would tell the agency that the child was at-risk of becoming homeless. His fear, Razer said, is that disapproving parents may kick a child out of their home. 

“I think we all can agree that we don’t want children to be homeless,” Razer told fellow committee members.

Sen. Doug Beck, a Democrat from Affton, added that there was a risk of child abuse as well, stacking another amendment atop Razer’s.

“If the parent is going to be notified,” Razer said, “the department needs to be notified that they may have a homeless child or an abused child on their hands.”

Sen. Rick Brattin, a Republican from Harrisonville, said he thought the Democratic amendments were unnecessary.

“Doesn’t the current existing law mandate reporting if they believe there is abuse or anything already going on?” he said. “So this is just redundancy.” 

Brattin said the amendments assume abuse, saying parents should be “innocent until proven guilty.” Razer thought it was best to be precautionary.

“You want to wait until the child is abused?” he asked. “You’re going to put a certain unacceptably large percentage of children at risk.”

Brattin argued with him, saying it was a “very small portion of children.”

Razer became visibly upset.

“If the law says ‘sexual orientation or gender identity,’ say a boy says, ‘I want to take this girl on a date to the dance,’ then do they have to call?” Razer asked. “If that’s not the case, then what we’re saying in your bill is you only call if the student is like me.”

Koenig said he was open to clarifying the bill’s language.

“What we don’t want is, we don’t want the teacher indoctrinating the child to make one decision or the other, or to specifically change names or pronouns,” he said.

State Sen. Lauren Arthur, a Kansas City Democrat, said teachers are not trying to change students’ sexuality or gender identity.

“Without teachers indoctrinating students, there are still conversations about students’ personal lives, who they like, who they want to take to the dance and how they’re feeling at that moment,” she said. “By putting in statute requirements of the teachers to notify parents in conversations where I think we should allow them a little discretion to make the right call, it creates all sorts of additional problems.”

Brattin said he thought the discussion of sexual orientation was “muddying the waters.” He said the bill addresses situations where teachers help children transition by providing clothes or changing their name without parental consent.

“To say that a teacher should have those sorts of conversations, I think is beyond the scope of a teacher,” he said.

Koenig’s bill passed, with the committee’s Democratic members and Gannon in opposition.

The committee’s new chairperson Sen. Curtis Trent, a Republican from Springfield, will be responsible for reporting the bill as “passed” on the Senate floor for it to continue forward. He voted in favor of the legislation.

This story was originally published in the Missouri Independent


AJ News
Get the latest news here first.

Tai News

Newsletter
Read More
Abortion care and transgender health care are ‘parallel struggles’ in 2024 legislation

Abortion care and transgender health care are ‘parallel struggles’ in 2024 legislation

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - February 16, 2024
Critics say AZ ‘Women’s Bill of Rights’ puts transgender women at risk

Critics say AZ ‘Women’s Bill of Rights’ puts transgender women at risk

By Gloria Rebecca Gomez, Arizona Mirror - February 14, 2024
Activists protest Reynolds’ bill excluding transgender people from certain facilities

Activists protest Reynolds’ bill excluding transgender people from certain facilities

By Robin Opsahl, Iowa Capital Dispatch - February 12, 2024
Texas conservatives test how far they can extend abortion and gender-transition restrictions beyond state lines

Texas conservatives test how far they can extend abortion and gender-transition restrictions beyond state lines

By Eleanor Klibanoff, Texas Tribune and William Melhado, Texas Tribune - February 09, 2024
Republican Scott Parkinson falsely claims pedophiles are part of LGBTQ community

Republican Scott Parkinson falsely claims pedophiles are part of LGBTQ community

By Jesse Valentine - February 06, 2024
Oregon representative compared supporting LGBTQ+ people to supporting child abuse

Oregon representative compared supporting LGBTQ+ people to supporting child abuse

By Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle - January 31, 2024
AJ News
Latest
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Not if, but when: Parents of slain Parkland students urge Utah lawmakers to pass school safety bill

Not if, but when: Parents of slain Parkland students urge Utah lawmakers to pass school safety bill

By Kyle Dunphey, Utah News Dispatch - February 21, 2024
Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

By Nick Evans, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024
Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024
Mark Robinson gun raffle raises campaign finance questions

Mark Robinson gun raffle raises campaign finance questions

By Jesse Valentine - February 16, 2024
Abortion care and transgender health care are ‘parallel struggles’ in 2024 legislation

Abortion care and transgender health care are ‘parallel struggles’ in 2024 legislation

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - February 16, 2024
Ohio Democrats introduce education bills for universal school meals, teacher pay raises

Ohio Democrats introduce education bills for universal school meals, teacher pay raises

By Susan Tebben, Ohio Capital Journal - February 15, 2024