Lawmakers removed language within a K-12 education omnibus bill that would have prevented schools from adopting transgender-inclusive policies.
The “Student Safety and Physical Privacy Act” language was amended to the House version of the K-12 education omnibus bill mid-session. The amendment is a reaction to recent policies enacted in the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts that increases safety and inclusion for transgender and gender nonconforming students. It bars schools from allowing transgender students to use facilities based on their gender and instead base those decisions on “chromosomes.”
The Minnesota Senate rejected a similar effort to amend the language to its education bill in April, and members of the House and Senate met in a conference committee to iron out the differences in the two bills over the last few weeks. Two groups opposed to LGBT rights, the Minnesota Family Council and the Minnesota Child Protection League, called on supporters to swarm the conference committee will phone calls and emails supportive of the anti-transgender language.
On Sunday night, the committee released a report on the final version of the bill. The anti-transgender language was removed.
On early Monday morning, the Minnesota House passed the conference committee report without the anti-transgender language, and early Monday afternoon, the Minnesota Senate passed the same report.
Little discussion of the measure occurred with the exception of DFL Rep. Carlos Mariani of St. Paul who said he was grateful that the language did not make it into the final omnibus bill.
“Fortunately, members, there are policy provisions that were added on the floor that are no longer in this bill and thank goodness for that. Perhaps the most egregious has to do with the issue relative to transgender students, and we can honestly agree to disagree on this issue, but we were certainly on that issue acting reactively and premature in attempting to stake out something that really had no deliberation over the course of this year.”
The omnibus bill now heads to Gov. Mark Dayton who has promised to veto the bill because lawmakers rejected his call for a universal pre-kindergarten education system. If vetoed, it could mean a special session where it is possible, but unlikely, that the anti-transgender language could be brought up again.