Alpha News has previously reported on the “Student Physical Privacy Act” which would overrule the Minnesota State High School League’s decision last fall that allows biological males and biological females to use school bathrooms and locker rooms of the sex with which they identify. The legislation states that “A public school student restroom, locker room, changing room, and shower room accessible by multiple students at the same time shall be designated for the exclusive use by students of the male sex only or by students of the female sex only.”
The Senate voted yesterday on the measure as an amendment to SF 1495, the omnibus education policy bill. Senator Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, brought forth the amendment which failed after much debate 25-40. The vote went largely by party lines with one Democrat voting with the Republicans for the amendment, Majority Whip Sen Lyle Koenen, D-Clara City. Three Republicans voted with the DFL majority against the amendment, Sen Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, Sen David Senjem, R-Rochester, and Sen Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen.
Sen Scott Dibble, D-Minneapolis, gave an emotional floor speech against the amendment calling into question the definition of gender by stating, “sex means the physical condition of being male or female which is determined by a person’s chromosomes and is identified at birth by a person’s anatomy…that is a false statement on its face.”
Senator Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, stated she didn’t feel the amendment was necessary and that local school boards could address the cases that arose. “We live in a world that is changing, and I have been affected so much by the students have visited this Capitol…I’m learning from them,” Ortman said.
Senator Alice Johnson, D-Blaine, cited concerns from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and also shared a story of traveling to Russia and seeing nude men and women for the first time at the pool at a “fancy resort.” Urging a vote against the measure she stated, “when children are taught in a respectful way what is going on, they can accept it. They will accept it.”
There remain many questions about the issue of transgenderism as it relates to children. Director of the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota, Eil Coleman, PhD, was featured on WCCO in February to address the issue of transgendered individuals and stated that “Yes, we see children and are able to help them transition. We are very cautious with any children or adolescents. There is fear they could transition too early. With children, there is a large chance that their gender dysphoria doesn’t persist and they become comfortable with their gender over time.”
Polling released in February by the Minnesota non-profit organization Child Protection League Action found that by a margin of 76%-17% Minnesota voters would support legislation to ensure girls’ athletic teams are reserved for biological females and that schools maintain separate bathrooms and locker rooms based on biological sex.
The issue is far from over since the language of the “Student Physical Privacy Act” passed the House on Saturday on a voice vote on an amendment to the omnibus education policy bill. It will be a part of final negotiations between the legislative bodies to close the session with Governor Dayton unlikely to approve of the measure
Sen Dibble and other Senate Democrats will be introducing new legislation tomorrow. Senate File 2141 would require taxpayers to pay for sex-change operations and sex-change drugs under Medical Assistance, which is Minnesota’s Medicaid program. Currently the law states that sex-reassignment surgery is not covered. The words “unless medically necessary” would be added to the current law and new language added to provide hormone drug coverage. New York, Massachusetts, California, and Vermont also allow sex change operations under their Medicaid programs. The coverage is a result of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and rules that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.
Co-authors of SF 2141 include Sen Chris Eaton, D- Brooklyn Center, Sen Kathy Sheran, D-Mankata, Sen John Marty, D-Roseville, and Sen Sandra Pappas, D-St. Paul.