Kentucky education commissioner says legislature put youth at risk with anti-LGBTQ bill
The day after Kentucky lawmakers rapidly changed and passed a bill to include measures banning gender-affirming care for minors, the state’s top education official decried the “sweeping and harmful” legislation.
Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason Glass said the latest version of Senate Bill 150 “contains provisions that will put our young people at risk, have the government interfere with decisions between doctors, patients and families and puts Kentucky at the front of a series of similar hateful, ignorant and shameful efforts around the country.”
In the fall, the Kentucky Department of Education will host a “summit in support of LGBTQIA+ people and youth,” Glass said. More details about the event will come later.
Glass chided the legislature for failing to address “real issues impacting our schools” and expending “its time and energy on this stitched-together bill, taking aim directly at LGBTQIA+ people.”
Glass also addressed Kentuckians who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, saying that they are seen and loved.
“In times like these, we all must find the courage to steady ourselves and to be as brave as we can,” the commissioner said.
Senate Bill 150 was originally introduced by the running mate of Republican gubernatorial candidate Kelly Craft, Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, to ban any Education Department guidance against misgendering trans students.
Republican lawmakers have criticized Glass because of the guidance throughout this legislative session. Another bill, Senate Bill 107, that would subject the education commissioner to confirmation by the Senate has been approved by both the House and Senate.
In a hastily-called House Education Committee on Thursday afternoon, a new version of the bill added parts from House Bill 470, which among other things banned gender-affirming care for minors.
Within a few hours, the House approved the new version of Senate Bill 150 and the Senate concurred.
The last-ditch House maneuver revived the prohibitions on health care for transgender youth after the Senate on Wednesday night adopted a floor amendment from Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Benton, overhauling House Bill 470. The Senate also voted to put the bill on its clerk’s desk, creating doubts about its passage in that chamber.
Education commissioner’s statement:
Yesterday, the Kentucky General Assembly rushed to pass Senate Bill 150, a sweeping and harmful piece of anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation.
Kentucky has real educational challenges that need the legislature’s attention. These include meaningful solutions to our educator and staff shortages, support to continue our academic recovery from the pandemic, funding stabilization due to ongoing health-related absences (COVID-19, RSV and flu), as well as urgent funding needs in growing school districts.
But instead of addressing the real issues impacting our schools, the legislature expended its time and energy on this stitched-together bill, taking aim directly at LGBTQIA+ people.
The bill contains provisions that will put our young people at risk, have the government interfere with decisions between doctors, patients and families and puts Kentucky at the front of a series of similar hateful, ignorant and shameful efforts around the country.
These kinds of laws are often put in place when there is (effectively) a one-party government. Minority and marginalized groups are frequently targeted, demonized and persecuted – fueling more of the misplaced rage and anger-tainment based politics that makes it nearly impossible for Kentucky to live up to our state motto of “United We Stand.”
The Kentucky legislature is following a terrifying, but sadly well-trodden path. In the long run, history does not reflect well on such regimes. And in the short-run, we should all be concerned about who will be their next target.
To LGBTQIA+ people and youth in Kentucky – we see you, we love you and we will continue to protect you from bullying and bigotry. In times like these, we all must find the courage to steady ourselves and to be as brave as we can.
To that end, I am pleased to announce that this fall, the Kentucky Department of Education will be holding a summit in support of LGBTQIA+ people and youth. More details will be forthcoming. Our focus will be on resilience, connection and hope.
With love and great resolve,
Jason E. Glass, Ed.D.
Commissioner and Chief Learner
Kentucky Department of Education