Big Wins, Big Losses

Chelsea, our Litigation Support Coordinator, writes about the 2020 Idaho legislative session:

Greetings from Idaho!

Honestly, my head is still spinning from the legislative session. Let me catch you up on what went down.

First, here’s where community prevailed with Legal Voice by their side!

Shut down! HB539 ​​​​​​​would have required parents to opt-in their child to public-school instruction on human sexuality, including topics related to “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” Clearly, trying to erase LGBTQ+ people and keep reproductive education at bay is wrong and irresponsible.

​​​​​​​Do not pass go! HB525 would have restricted the state, county, city, or local health district from transferring public funds to any organization that provides abortion-related care. This threatened the ability of Idahoans to get basic, preventive health care, such as lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment, and well-woman exams.

Ding dong the bill is dead! HB 465 would have denied transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming healthcare – including transition-related care. It also would have charged doctors and other medical practitioners with a felony for providing that care. Clearly, medical professionals, not politicians, will rightfully continue to decide what medical care is in the best interest of a patient.

Deep breath, here's what passed despite a tremendous outpouring of protest from community members, allies, educational institutions, agencies, and business entities:

SB 1385: A trigger bill that criminalizes abortion in Idaho if Roe v. Wade is overturned, or if federal legislation is passed that would permit Idaho to ban abortion care.

HB 440: This bill rolls back key civil rights protections for protected classes in Idaho. The bill prevents public employers, educational institutions, and contracts from providing “preferential treatment” based on sex, race, national origin.

HB 509: This bill bans transgender people from updating the gender marker on their birth certificate to match their gender identity.

HB 500: This bill bans transgender girls in sports and prevents student athletes from participating in sports according to their authentic gender identity, a departure from current guiding policies from the Idaho High School Activities Association and NCAA.

Those last few were tough, I know; however, Legal Voice guided and advocated through a lens of resilience, while still working on resistance to this harmful legislation. We helped:

  • Hold space (a reserved room) within the State House for community members to find quiet, calm, safety and nourishment while waiting long days to testify.

  • Host community meetings and video conference calls, so community members felt supported throughout their efforts during the legislative session.

  • Lift up reminders for self-care and balance during those long days and nights of anticipation.

Since then, we have FILED a suit against Idaho for its anti-trans athlete bill! As someone who has always organized and advocated only during crises, it’s incredible to be part of the team taking the next steps to remedy these wrongdoings.

I’m energized, enthusiastic and inspired by our community, which is ready and waiting to undertake our next plans of action and I welcome each of you to link arms with us as we move forward!