Since the start of legislative session, infighting among the Republican supermajority, specifically regarding the Congressional redistricting, have dominated debate time. While the Senate has been filibustering for days, PROMO has shown up in House committee hearings to provide our voice in opposition to the many Critical Race Theory bans (equally attacking the inclusion of LGBTQ+ content in schools), the initiative petition process changes, and higher education discrimination.
Gratefully, the most dangerous threats specifically targeting our trans youth haven’t entered the legislature until this week. Late Tuesday evening, the Senate paused debate on the Congressional redistricting and moved forward debate on SB 672 (Hough R-30 ), a bill discussing the Missouri Fast Track Work Incentive Grant Program. The Fast Track Program provides post-high school students access to apprenticeships in technical fields. The expansion of this grant encourages programs to develop in rural areas. During debate, Senator Hoskins (R-21) introduced two amendments, the first related to the transgender sports ban and the second related to Critical Race Theory.
The first amendment would prohibit any school or training program from accessing money for participating in the Fast Track Program if they have ever or would ever allow a transgender individual to play on a sports team that does not align with their sex assigned at birth. By attaching this amendment to this particular grant we are threatening the most vulnerable of our transgender youth in areas of our state where there often are less school districts that make accommodations for trans students, do so quietly, or do not have nondiscrimination protections in their cities.
The second amendment would prohibit any school or training program that participates in the Fast Track Program from including DEI training in their programs. We see this amendment as targeting areas of our state where DEI training may make the biggest difference.
In both instances, Senator Hough made a motion to lay the amendment on the table. This is a procedural move that allows him to take the floor back from the amendment maker and return to debate on the underlying bill without taking a vote on the merits of the amendment. We need you to help us thank the Senators who stood up against debating these contentious issues that attack transgender and LGBTQ+ Missourians.
We have been and will continue working diligently to educate our elected leaders on what it means to be transgender, and how they can make our state a more supportive environment for all LGBTQ+ Missourians to thrive in. We’ve been fortunate to bring the voices of trans youth and their parents with us to the Capitol to meet and speak with our leaders.
Legislators see PROMO in the Capitol every day, demonstrating the vigilance, persistence, and expertise required to make certain Missouri laws protect and enhance the lives of all LGBTQ Missourians. Continue following PROMO’s legislative tracker to stay current on the opportunities and threats to LGBTQ+ rights in Missouri. Join us with your voice!
Shira Berkowitz, Sr. Director Public Policy and Advocacy