This Week in Statehouse Action: April Showers edition

This Week in Statehouse Action: April Showers edition

We’re still a few weeks away from April showers bringing anything May-related, but as many state legislative sessions hurtle towards final adjournment for the year, the deluge of bad new policies and laws is right on top of us, like one of those little cartoon rainclouds hovering over an unhappy character.

Take, for instance, all those bills targeting transgender kids that are becoming law.

Red Rain: It’s somehow already been over a month since I did my first deep dive into the glut of state-level legislation targeting transgender kids this year, and—as you might have guessed, given the overall garbage trajectory of statehouse things—the news is worse now than it was then.

Campaign Action

This is literally the first time any of these lawmakers gave two shits about women’s sports

As an erudite consumer of this missive, I surely don’t have to remind you that these bills have absolutely nothing to do with women’s athletics and everything to do with shaming transgender kids and telling them that they don’t belong.

  • Another type of horrifyingly popular anti-transgender legislation making its way through legislatures this year: Bills banning doctors from administering hormone therapy, performing transition surgery, or providing other gender-affirming care to transgender youth.
  • But almost fittingly, the worst of these bills has surfaced in North Carolina, home of 2016’s infamous “bathroom bill.”
    • Honestly the only good news here is that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper would certainly veto such a measure if it passed, and Republicans (… barely) lack the veto-proof majorities they’d need to override him.
      •  Senate Bill 514, introduced just this week, would
        • Ban all gender-affirming medical treatments through age 21 (most other bills of this nature set the age cap at 18).
        • Require employees of “any governmental entity,” including schools, to “immediately notify” a minor’s parents if the they have “exhibited symptoms of gender dysphoria, gender nonconformity, or otherwise demonstrates a desire to be treated in a manner incongruent with the minor’s sex.”
        • Ban the use of state funds—including through insurance plans—for gender transition procedures for North Carolinians at any age.

Important reminder: There’s absolutely nothing “grassroots” or “organic” about this sudden glut of anti-transgender legislation across the country.

Blame It On The Rain: We’ve seen it for the duration of the Trump era: Journalism that fails to reflect the alternate reality in which you and your followers reside is “fake news,” according to many politicians and personalities on the far right.

  • This isn’t new; conservatives created and flogged the myth of the “liberal media” for many years until folks finally realized that it just wasn’t true.

But legislating in support of the “fake news” lie and “liberal media” myth is a rare sight, usually because of obvious First Amendment issues.

November Rain: I’m going to take a quick break this week from talking about actual voter suppression legislation to zoom out a bit and talk about the forces that support the lawmakers who introduce and pass voter suppression legislation.

Or one force in particular, in this case: Facebook.

Talk is cheap, and since Facebook is funneling money to the RSLC, this is just a straight-up lie.

Okay, let’s wrap with a little good news.

Umbrella: This one’s definitely for the How Democrats Govern file.

“Qualified immunity” is a fancy term for a legal doctrine that law enforcement has used for many years to shield police officers from individual liability for their misconduct.

  • New Mexico’s new law allows victims to sue police departments if an officer violated their civil rights and recover up to $2 million in damages.
    • It’s not a fix for the many, many problems with American policing.
      • But this new law means real accountability for law enforcement, which is a big step in the right direction.

Welp, that’s a wrap for this week! As always, super grateful to you for hanging in.

I hope your spring is springing super hard and that your local weather is increasingly pleasant and that you have the opportunity to enjoy said pleasantness.

So take care of yourself.

You deserve it.

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