Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs last week vetoed Senate Bill (SB) 1040, a bill that would have prevented public school students from using a bathroom or changing facility that differs from their birth sex.
SB 1040—which was written to target transgender students—would have also forced schools to provide separate accommodations for students who “were unwilling or unable” to use a bathroom that corresponded to their birth sex. These students would have had to send in a written accommodation request, as well.
In other words, if the bill were to become law, a transgender girl in high school would have been forced to use the boys’ bathroom or go through the process of asking her school to provide her with her own, separate bathroom.
The bill would have also covered “multi-occupancy sleeping quarters” during school-sponsored activities, meaning, for example, a transgender boy would have had to share a room with girls in his class on an overnight school trip.
The legislation also would have allowed anyone who “encounters” a person of the opposite birth sex in a school bathroom or changing facility—or shares “sleeping quarters” with them—to sue the school if the school gave the trans person permission to use those facilities.
In her veto message, Hobbs called SB 1040 “discriminatory against LGBTQ youth” and pledged to veto every bill that “aims to attack and harm children.”
The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement shortly after Gov. Hobbs vetoed the bill, and said that “schools should be safe and welcoming places for all students.”
“We sincerely thank Gov. Hobbs for rejecting SB 1040 – a shameful bill designed to alienate and stigmatize trans school personnel and kids simply trying to navigate childhood and their adolescence,” Human Rights Campaign Arizona State Director Bridget Sharpe said in a statement.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, 2023 is “becoming the worst year on record” for anti-LGBTQ legislation. More than 530 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in statehouses across the country. Over 40% of these bills specifically target the rights of transgender people—the highest number of bills targeting the group in a single year to date.
Senate Bill 1040 was sponsored by Republican Sen. John Kavanagh, who introduced a similar anti-trans bill that would have barred preferred pronoun use in schools earlier this year. That bill was also vetoed by Hobbs; she has vetoed more than 110 bills since taking office in January.
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