Senate panel passes controversial bill dealing with LGBTQ issues in Ky. schools

Senate panel passes controversial bill dealing with LGBTQ issues in Ky. schools
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 3:38 PM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - A controversial bill dealing with LGBTQ issues in Kentucky schools has passed a Senate panel.

Senate Bill 150 requires parent notifications when it comes to sexual issues and aims to limit the authority of the state board of and department of education when it comes to gender identity.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, says this came about because of parents needing to know what is going on with certain issues with their kids at school and to keep the state from telling educators what they can and cannot do when it comes to pronouns of gender identity.

“The main point is to empower parents. And have open lines of communication,” Sen. Wise said.

Sen. Wise says the bill deals with health services in schools, curriculum transparency, and protection of first amendment freedoms for staff and students. He says it came about because of numerous parents and educators who felt forced to use certain pronouns when it comes to students’ identities.

“The local school board shall not mandate that school personnel or students must use a student’s non-conforming pronoun,” said Sen. Wise.

However, those against it say it prevents a safety net for kids struggling with their identity.

“That nearly half of LGBTQ kids have considered suicide in the past year,” said Chris Hartman with the Kentucky Fairness Alliance. “Nearly one in five transgender youth have not just considered but have attempted suicide.

Senator Karen Berg says the bill is especially hurtful to her.

“My child killed himself because he didn’t want to face this again all over the country,” said Sen. Berg.

The bill easily passed the panel in an 11 to 1 vote, with Senator Reggie Thomas, D-Lexington, voting against it. However, SB 150 has not yet received its required three readings to be voted on in the full Senate.