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Committee votes two bills targeting transgender rights to Missouri House floor

By Avery Everett

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    JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri (KOMU) — Two anti-LGBTQ+ bills will soon see the Missouri House of Representatives floor after legislators voted it out of the committee Thursday.

The House General Law Committee held an executive session on House bills 419 and 183. Both bills target transgender rights across the state, one on health care restrictions in transitions and the other on who is able to play on certain gendered sports teams. These are only two of the nine anti-LGBTQ+ bills heard by the House so far this legislative session.

Rep. Brad Hudson (R-Cape Fair) sponsors HB 419. He said during the executive session Thursday that this bill is about gender-reassignment surgery. Some legislators took concern with an amendment to the bill proposed and approved on Thursday. Hudson said the bill doesn’t take away lifesaving care.

“You don’t want a situation where some folks may say … because of a likelihood of suicide or likelihood of this, that they would actually subject children to these drugs and or to these surgeries,” Hudson said. “The reality is there is nothing in this bill that would not allow someone to get the lifesaving care that they would need.”

Rep. Peter Merideth (D-St. Louis) opposed HB 419. He said after hearing nearly nine hours of testimony from those potentially harmed by this becoming a law, he couldn’t support the amendment or the bill at large.

“Do you want to be the ones today to vote to say you know better than those parents?” Meredith said.

Thursday’s executive session left some political representatives voting across party lines.

“I’m not convinced that we need to rush into this,” Rep. Tony Lovasco (R-O’Fallon) said. “I was on that fence this morning as to whether we were close enough and you know what, I’m off the fence now. I don’t think we’re there.”

HB 419 was voted out of the committee 8-5-1. Discussion on HB 183 followed that vote. It also was also voted of the General Law committee to the House floor 9-5.

HB 183 concerns transgender youth playing in school sports. It’s sponsored by Jamie Burger (R-Benton). A similar bill is currently being pushed through the Missouri Senate.

Peverill Squire, an MU professor of political science, said the recent push from Republicans is expected.

“Once you start talking about the budget and taxes and some of the education issues that they’re going to have to address, things will bog down so the Republicans are motivated to try and get things through as quickly as they can,” Squire said.

Both bills will now move to the House floor for deliberation.

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