Updated Ky. Dept. of Education guidance on controversial bill exposes loophole in bill’s language

Updated Ky. Dept. of Education guidance on controversial bill exposes loophole in bill’s language
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 5:44 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The controversial Senate Bill 150, now law in the state, is being addressed again by the Kentucky Department of Education.

The state Department of Education released the updated guidelines Monday. The 12-page document is supposed to help school districts set policies based on new laws. However, the sponsor of the bill calls this absurd.

WKYT gives us a deeper look into what some people are calling a loophole.

“Of course, we know now that much of that bill seems to have been written on the back of a napkin in the middle of the night because there was no real, serious effort to vet this,” said Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky Executive Director Rebecca Blankenship.

Rebecca Blankenship is Kentucky’s first openly transgender elected official. This past legislative session, she was seen often at the capitol rallying against “anti-LGBTQ legislation” like SB 150.

The Kentucky Department of Education updated its non-regulatory guidance regarding part of SB 150. They say it was designed to provide more clarity to school districts on the policies and parental notice required by Section 2 of SB 150.

KDE spokesperson Toni Konz-Tatman said in a statement,“The Kentucky General Assembly chose to use the conjunction “or” not “and.” When it comes to state law, words have meaning and KDE simply read the words adopted by the General Assembly.”

The KDE guidance says that means schools can choose to ban either human sexuality instruction in grades five and below or instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation for all grades.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Max Wise responded to KDE’s new guidance, calling it an absurd effort to skirt state law. He said in a statement, “It is clear the legislature meant, in Section 2(1)(d) of SB 150, that schools shall not have classes in human sexuality in grades five and below, or study gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation at any grade level.”

Governor Andy Beshear says he’s not surprised that there is at least one mistake in the bill.

“This is what happens when you get in such a rush to attack me or a group of kids that you give seven minutes of notice before a committee hearing,” said Governor Beshear. “You plop down what is virtually a brand new bill and make people vote on it without reading it.”

The Cameron for Governor campaign sent us a statement saying:

“Why are Andy Beshear and his handpicked bureaucrats obsessed with forcing gender ideology on our parents, teachers, and students? It’s plain weird. Andy Beshear agrees with Joe Biden who today described parents concerned about gender ideology as ‘prejudiced.’”

The Fayette County School Board Chair tells us they are reviewing the guidance now and will do an initial review of any potential policy updates on Monday.