Legislative Digest 1/27/20

With the legislative session about to begin on Feb. 3, here are two of the noteworthy bills that were submitted in the past few months.

Senate Bill 1819:

This bill prohibits gender reassignment medical treatment for any people under 18 years of age. According to the bill, gender reassignment medical treatment includes “suppressing development … of sex characteristics,” “alligning … appearance or body with the patient’s gender identity” and “interventions to alleviate … distress resulting from gender dysphoria.”

For those unfamiliar with youth gender transitions, it is important to note that pre-puberty transitions do not involve these types of treatments. Pre-puberty transitions only involve what is termed “Social Transition” by the Human Rights Coalition, such as a change in clothing and used pronouns.

These treatments would begin in early adolescence with puberty blocking medication, a process which is reversible if the child changes their identity. Surgeries and hormone therapy would not occur until older adolescence and when the child feels affirmed in their transitioned identity.

Adolescents not allowed to receive these treatments often delve deeper into the negative mental conditions associated with transgender youth. The Human Rights Coalition points out that not letting an adolescent halt their pubescent development (which is in contrast to their gender identity) can “make [their gender dysphoria] worse, even to the point of a mental health crisis.” Additionally, the changes transgender people’s bodies will undergo during puberty without treatment will be irreversible, even once they reach 18 years of age.

Thankfully, this bill is only in the prefiling stage, meaning it hasn’t made any real progression through the approval process. Hopefully, SB1819 won’t come to pass through this process.

House Bill 2994:

The main thrust of this legislation would be to prohibit beverages not obtained from “hooved mammals” from being labelled “milk.” This would stop products like almond milk or soy milk from being labelled as such. This bill is also only in its prefiling stage.

Many people in recent years have shifted from drinking cow milk to various plant-based milks because of the large negative impact animal agriculture can have. This has led to a seven percent decrease in national milk sales in 2018 (about a billion dollars in sales). The milk industry has long held influence in American politics (remember all those “Got Milk?” posters in your public elementary school?), and this legislation would only go to further benefit these corporations.

Additionally, I don’t want to ignore the obvious ridiculousness of this legislation. The country now faces historical income inequality, a constant struggle for human rights and the looming threat of climate change. Despite all this, the author of this legislation has decided milk labelling is the most pressing issue he must face.

Coincidentally, Jim Grego, the representative who proposed the bill, happens to be a cattle farmer! It is probably a reach to claim he proposed this bill for his own economic benefit, but perhaps he is personally offended at all the counterfeit milk being peddled in today’s grocery stores.

Post Author: Justin Klopfer