Lawmakers forward controversial bills dealing with LGBTQ issues amid protest rally
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Two bills dealing with LGBTQ issues are moving forward in Frankfort.
Senate Bill 115 originally would have banned drag performances within a thousand feet of places like parks, schools, and even homes. House Bill 470 would ban healthcare providers from doing anything to help kids transition.
LGBTQ advocates filled the room as a Senate committee heard from those both for and against SB 115.
Senate Bill 115′s sponsor, Sen. Lindsey Tichenor, R-Smithfield, made significant changes ahead of Thursday’s committee meeting. If it becomes law, it would ban drag shows in many public spaces.
Sen. Tichenor revamped the bill with her focus on ensuring that these performances stay away from Kentucky’s children.
“A person is guilty of engaging in an abrupt up performance when here she engages in an adult performance on publicly owned property, or in a location where the person knows or should know that the adult performance could be viewed by a person under 18,″ said Sen. Tichenor.
The bill would then punish the performers and any business that knowingly allows the performance.
Tichenor and her supporters insist this is about protecting children.
“For some reason, people want this in front of their children and I would ask why?,” said Sen. Tichenor.
However, those against the bill say it will affect small businesses and the economy. One drag performer spoke about how it would uproot their livelihoods.
“As a drag performer, who depends on the shows and performances for income, it tells me I’m not only not a human, worthy of rights, but also I’m not worthy to work,” the performer said.
After numerous speeches from opponents including Sen. Karen Berg, D-Louisville, who shared her trans son’s last actions in her condemnation of the bill.
“The last thing he did at work before he went home and killed himself was to send out a press release, warning us about what was coming. Warning the world of this!,” said Sen. Berg.
The bill ultimately passed the Senate Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection in a 9-2 vote.
During the SB 115 committee meeting and ahead of the HB 470 hearing, a rally was held in opposition to both bills.
Rep. Pamela Stevenson, D-Louisville, says HB 470 takes rights away from parents and goes against doctor recommendations.
“How dare you call this act, this anti-trans bill parents rights bills. You’ve infected all my rights as a parent to parent my child,” said Rep. Stevenson at the rally. “And as you know, all the major medical organizations back these things. They have looked at it and said it’s needed for the people we serve. And you’ve got a bunch of people who aren’t doctors saying we disagree.”
After the rally, people flooded through the doors of the Capitol, down to the committee room to hear the discussion over House Bill 470.
Opponents of the bill say the harm within it is immense and they’re already fearful of the consequences the bill holds. Some speakers even call these bills “a slate of hate” that they’ve never testified against before.
“I just think that this is a shortsighted measure and we need to do better,” said Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser, R-Taylor Mill. “I think that we still have a chance to make a difference in this legislation, protect kids if that’s what we’re trying to do, and make this a better bill. I don’t think we need to go as far as we have.”
Representative Jennifer Decker, R-Waddy, said HB 470 seeks to protect Kentucky children.
HB 470 passed in the House Judiciary Committee with a 14 to 7 vote. Then, after nearly two hours of debate Thursday afternoon, HB 470 was passed by the full House in a 75 to 22 vote.
We’ll keep you updated as SB 115 and HB 470 move through the legislature.
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