Transgender Bathroom, Sports Bill Dead After Attempt To Break Filibuster Fails


       A bill limiting transgender students to school bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams that correspond with their sex at birth died in the Nebraska legislature on Friday.

Backers of LB 575 fell 2 votes short of the 33 needed to end a filibuster.

     The bill had been stalled for more than a year before it was suddenly voted out of committee Thursday and scheduled for debate Friday, but with only 4 days left in the session, it’s dead for the year.

     Senator Kathleen Kauth, who successfully pushed through a bill last year severely limiting gender-affirming medical treatments for minors, touted LB 575 as protecting women’s sports – leading Senator Megan Hunt to call Kauth out by name. 

     Hunt, the mother of a transgender teen, told her colleagues,“This is not about protecting women, It’s about the danger and the power of the imagination of a bigot, Senator Kauth, and those who would support a bill like this.” 

     After another senator complained about the attack, Hunt was asked by the presiding officer to refrain from casting aspersions on fellow lawmakers. That prompted Hunt to invite her colleagues to censure her.

       Hunt said “Do you know how hard it is to be a queer kid? You’re getting bullied. You’re getting beat up sometimes. And bills like LB 575 just sanction that.” 

      Kauth and the other supporters of the bill thought they had the 33 votes needed to invoke cloture, halt debate, and advance the bill bu co-sponsors Tom Brandt and Merv Riepe abstained after expressing doubts during debate that the bill was needed.

      Brandt noted that the NSAA, which governs high school sports in Nebraska, already has a policy governing competition by transgender students and that only 10 had applied to use it in the last 8 years.

      Riepe said he had a change of heart after getting to know families in his district who have transgender members in his district, adding that LB 575 was trying to fix “a problem that does not exist.”