POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Transgender youth-related bills pass Senate, advance to Utah House

Jan 20, 2023, 3:15 PM | Updated: 4:13 pm

Three bills dealing with transgender youth in Utah have easily passed through the Utah Senate....

Sen. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, a physician by trade and SB16’s sponsor, speaks at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. The bill and two others aimed at transgender and LGBTQ children were passed Friday by the Utah Senate. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Three bills that address transgender youth-related issues were approved by the full Utah Senate on Friday. They now move to the Utah House of Representatives for consideration.

 

S.B.16, Transgender Medical Treatments and Procedures Amendments, sponsored by Sen. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, would ban doctors from performing transgender-related surgery on minors in Utah. It would also pause any new hormone treatments for minors, beginning in May 2023. 

The bill passed on a vote of 21-to-7, with one absent. The sponsor argues he’s been working on it for months.

“The idea that this is rapid fire in moving forward is naiive,” Kennedy told KSL NewsRadio. “We’ve been thinking and working on this policy for years now.”

He points to an interim meeting held last October, and said the bill has been run multiple years prior.

“These concepts have been working through for the last three years, as anyone who’s been paying attention understands,” Kennedy said. 

“This is the third session that these have been on the table.”

On Friday, Sen. Nate Blouin, D-Salt Lake City, read a statement written by his intern, Ari. A portion of the statement is printed below:

“Even before SB16 has passed the Senate, this bill has already negatively impacted my health and wellbeing and is causing adverse effects on Utah’s trans community. It is a reminder of the fact that even after being able to transition and to fit in with the rest of society that people like me are not accepted by the majority of this body.”

S.B. 100, School District Gender Identity Policies, sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, requires schools to alert parents if a child asks to use a different name. It also requires parental consent for a change to be made to the child’s education records regarding gender identity. This bill passed on a vote of 22-to-6, with 1 absent.


SB93, Vital Records Modifications, would ban a minor from changing the information on their birth certificates, even with the permission of their parents. It passed by a vote of 19-to-8, with 2 absent.

The Utah Democratic Party issued a blistering response to the first week of the 2023 legislative session, claiming that Utah Republicans are demonstrating “extremism in action” during the session.  A portion of their statement is provided below:

Republicans have moved forward bills to attack marginalized youth and undermine parental rights, to send your tax dollars to private institutions rather than investing in our public schools, and to put themselves in the middle of the judicial process in order to restrict medical freedoms. Republican extremists will stop at nothing to advance their agenda and expand their own power, even if it means trampling on the individual freedoms of Utahns or defunding our neighborhood public schools. Utah Democrats reject this blatant government overreach by the Republican supermajority.

For each of the three bills, votes were cast largely along party lines, with one Republican, Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, voting against SB16 and SB93.

Contributing: Lindsay Aerts

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Transgender youth-related bills pass Senate, advance to Utah House