On Friday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a law called The Tennessee Accommodations for All Children Act. The Bill will go into effect July 1, 2021, and clarifies and defines certain notions such as “sex” “changing facility” “reasonable accommodation” and “restroom” in order to protect children from being exposed to members of the opposite sex.
The legislation mandates “A public school shall provide a reasonable accommodation” to anyone who “for any reason, is unwilling or unable to use a multi-occupancy restroom or changing facility designated for the person’s sex and located within a public school building, or multi-occupancy sleeping quarters while attending a public school-sponsored activity.”
A person who wants the “reasonable accommodation” must also provide “a written request for a reasonable accommodation to the public school.” The House Bill 1233 specifically lays out definitions, such as:
“Reasonable accommodation’ includes, but is not limited to: access to a single-occupancy restroom or changing facility or use of an employee restroom or changing facility. A reasonable accommodation does not include access to a restroom or changing facility that is designated for use by members of the opposite sex while persons of the opposite sex are present or could be present.”
“Sex’ means a person’s immutable biological sex as determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth. Evidence of a person’s biological sex includes, but is not limited to, a government-issued identification document that accurately reflects a person’s sex listed on the person’s original birth certificate.”
Although groups such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) have criticized that the bill may be discriminatory against the LGBTQ community, Lee’s purpose behind the bill refutes their claims. Prior to signing the Bill, Lee told the Chattanooga Times Free Press the bill “provides equal access to every student…It’s a reasonable accommodation, it allows for accommodation, it allows for accommodation for every single student regardless of their gender. I think that’s a smart approach to the challenge. And I’ll be signing that.”
Transgender Sports Ban is Vetoed by North Dakota Governor
In response to vetoing a bill involving transgender sports, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said the state already has rules in place for sports leagues regarding transgender people.
“North Dakota has fairness in girls’ and boys’ sports in large part because of the caring and thoughtful leadership of the North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA) Board and its members,” Burgum said. “We have every confidence they will continue to ensure a level playing field for the more than 27,000 students who participate in North Dakota high school sports.”
The state says a transgender student who is not taking hormone treatment may not participate in sports with the gender they identify as, The Bismarck Tribune reported.
Transgender males have to undergo testosterone treatment in order to compete in male sports leagues, and transgender females have to undergo testosterone suppressing treatment for one year before participating in female sports leagues.
“To date there has not been a single recorded incident of a transgender girl attempting to play on a North Dakota girls’ team. Further, the NDHSAA already has regulations in place for participation in sex-separated interscholastic contests by transgender students,” Burgum said.
The bill could be overridden by the state House and Senate, with the House getting enough votes the first time around to override the governor’s decision.
This topic has a lot of tension surrounding it right now especially with the NCAA organization releasing a statement in which it said its Board of Governors “unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports.”
Biden HHS Pick Oversaw Disastrous COVID Nursing Home Policy in Pennsylvania
Joe Biden’s pick for assistant Human Health Services (HHS) secretary was responsible for the deadly COVID nursing home policy in Pennsylvania.
Last March, Dr. Rachel Levine, the transgender health secretary of Pennsylvania, directed long-term care facilities to admit new patients who were discharged from hospitals who may have had COVID-19. This was ordered to “to alleviate the increasing burden in the acute care settings.”
As COVID outbreaks ravaged the elderly population in the state, Levine’s own 95-year-old mother had the luxury of being removed from her nursing home and into a “premium hotel.”
“My mother requested and my sister and I as her children comply to move her to another location,” Levine said in a press conference in May. “During the COVID-19 outbreak. My mother is 95 years old. She is very intelligent and more than competent to make her own decisions.”
According to data from the New York Times updated earlier this month, Pennsylvania now ranks second for COVID deaths (9,365) from long-term care facilities in the country, placing the state only behind California, which had 10,134 fatalities. Overall, deaths in Pennsylvania’s long-term care facilities make up 52 percent of all COVID deaths in the state.
Republicans in the state, including State Sen. Doug Mastriano, had called for Levine’s resignation.
“These failings are compounded by being complicit in the virus spreading through our elder care homes, triggered by unscientific and illogical directives, forcing them to readmit COVID-19 patients,” he said. “Let me state this clearly, this order by Secretary Levine is responsible for the deaths of approximately 2,500 of our citizens and displays the gross incompetence of someone unfit for office. The bottom line is Secretary Levine has failed to protect our most vulnerable population.”
In June, Levine defended the nursing home policies put in place and said, “They contracted the virus in the facility. So it doesn’t mean they were bringing it to the facility. The virus was already there.”
Biden released a statement on his nomination of Levine today:
“Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic — no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond. She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf congratulated Levine today, writing on Twitter, “Dr. Levine has been a wise, calm, and dedicated partner during this pandemic and I couldn’t be prouder of the tireless work she’s done to serve Pennsylvanians. She will be missed, but I know she will be a tremendous leader at @HHSGov.”
Dr. Levine has been a wise, calm, and dedicated partner during this pandemic and I couldn’t be prouder of the tireless work she’s done to serve Pennsylvanians.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) January 19, 2021