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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Signature gathering starts for CA initiative to restrict transgender student rights

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Wednesday, November 8, 2023   

Three proposed ballot initiatives affecting transgender students are now in the signature-gathering stage in California. The group Protect Kids California said it is planning to combine them, to try to get one big measure on the ballot next fall.

One proposal would prevent transgender girls from competing on girls' sports teams in school.

Jonathan Zachreson, co-founder of Protect Kids California, said it is an issue of competitive fairness.

"It's not fair, where biological boys are able to enter into girls' sports, based off of the gender that they identify as," Zachreson contended. "Girls are losing scholarships; they're losing opportunities to play. And in some cases, they're being injured."

The proposal would also require schools to limit boys' restrooms to students born male; and girls' restrooms to students born female. LGBTQ+ groups have argued forcing a transgender child into a different restroom puts the student at risk of harassment or violence.

Another initiative would require schools to notify parents if a student presents as a different gender or requests a new name or pronoun. Earlier this year, the school board in Chino tried to pass a similar policy, but a judge declared it unconstitutional and blocked it.

Tony Hoang, executive director of Equality California, is concerned about the bill's repercussions.

"In an ideal world, all LGBTQ+ students would live in an affirming and supportive home," Hoang noted. "But unfortunately, we know that not all do, and in some circumstances, forcibly outing students can cause significant harm and potentially, violence."

A third proposal would ban medical providers from offering gender-affirming care to minors, including puberty-blocking medication, cross-sex hormonal treatment, mastectomies or genital surgery.

Amanda Goad, Audrey Irmas director of the LGBTQ Gender and Reproductive Justice Project at the ACLU of Southern California, noted such therapies are approved by the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"The proponents of these measures sometimes make them out to be efforts to protect kids," Goad pointed out. "That really offends me, given that care reduces trans youths' risks of suicide, and benefits their ability to live their lives and figure out who they are."


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