April 27, 2015
Contrary to news you’ve been hearing, the Student Physical & Privacy Act, HF 1546, was not passed as an amendment to the Omnibus House Education Finance bill last Saturday, April 25th, on the floor of the Minnesota House.
No roll call vote!
What passed the House last Saturday was a compromise amendment that extended the physical privacy protections of HF 1546, but that left the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) male-to-female transgender ruling intact. Shockingly, no votes were recorded.
This is a bipartisan problem!
Understand that, by choosing not to record the vote, every member who voted no was extended political protection. With the exception of the 29 faithful authors of HF1546 and Representative Jim Nash who announced his support, both Democrat and Republican House members are now free to privately be on either side of this issue. This is a bipartisan problem!
Why the secrecy?
With no explanation whatsoever, the GOP caucus finally allowed a vote only on the provision for separate male and female student locker rooms, bathrooms and dressing areas. The amendment left the MSHSL action in place, allowing males who feel they are females to play on girls’ teams and to be treated as such. This truncated action was taken even though an overwhelming 90% of Minnesota voters support separate facilities and 81% support female-only teams.
With whom was the GOP negotiating?
The GOP is a majority in the House, so no compromise with House Democrats was necessary to pass a full HF 1546 on a recorded vote! But if the compromise was with the GOP caucus, then it is they who are responsible for insisting on secrecy and stripping out the reversal of the outrageous MSHSL action on our kids.
However, if the compromise for a non-recorded vote on vastly diminished language was with the Democrats in the Senate in exchange for protecting the House amendment from being stripped out of the education bill when it goes to conference committee with the Senate, and in exchange for protections against a Governor’s veto, then we will have cause to cheer and the House Republicans will deserve accolades.
We will be watching.
The education bill will soon be in conference committee. How committed will the authors of the House education bill and the Speaker of the House be to protecting the remaining personal privacy language from being stripped away?
Or will last Saturday’s action have been just another slick pretense? Will we all be led to believe that the House GOP majority did all they possibly could by allowing a secret vote on a stripped down amendment that will certainly be removed in conference committee with no one held accountable?
We thank the House authors for getting the bill this far.
They have faced stiffer opposition from their own colleagues than anyone expected. The real HF 1546 still languishes in the House Education Committee. It can still get a committee hearing, if the GOP majority in the House will allow. Taking public testimony and passing the bill through committee would be a major step forward. HF 1546 can still move to the House floor for a vote in 2016.
And members can still sign on as authors! There’s one sure way for legislators to lend their voices to this battle. Get every one of them on as authors. They can still do that!
And if HF 1546 cannot pass a committee vote or a full House floor vote, we need to know who is stopping it!
It will not be getting easier.
Keep in mind that if we let our representatives and the House majority off the hook for refusing to defend children in this most fundamental of issues, expect them to crumble again under the next looming assault on kids: criminalizing all sexual identity counseling services for minors. It is past time for all legislators to step up to this battle!
Ask Your Member How He/She Voted!
We will record the vote! Please ask your own member, and those you know, how they voice voted. It is time for a little transparency. We will count the 29 authors as yes votes, as well as Rep Nash. The rest of them? Please ask. Then let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you vote yes or did you vote no? Or will you refuse to say?
We will count refusals as no votes. Everyone is accountable.
For contact information for every Minnesota House member, click here.
To find your own Minnesota House member, click here.