In dedication to keeping our community members well informed with up-to-date information regarding the Arizona legislative session, GLSEN Arizona is committed to providing you with a weekly update.
Two of the bills we are currently tracking that would affect LGBTQ+ youth were passed in the Senate Education Committee this week. While these bills have been voted through by the State Senate, Governor Hobbs’ signature is still required to pass them into law.
SB 1001: This bill requires written parental permission for teachers and other school employees to respect and utilize the pronouns of trans and non-binary students. For students with parental consent, the bill also prevents schools from requiring teachers and other school officials to use their correct pronouns if it is contrary to the school employee’s moral or religious convictions.
SB 1005: This bill bars courts from awarding damages to a government entity when sued for a violation of the parental bill of rights, unless the case was brought without justification or for the purpose of harassment. In practice, teachers and schools may feel pressure to avoid perfectly legal ways of supporting the LGBTQ+ community out of fear that it may expose them to legal action.
On Thursday Jan 19th, Governor Hobbs Chief of Staff, Allie Bones tweeted the following: "The Governor was clear in her State of the State that it’s time to focus on real issues. Going after LGBTQ kids doesn’t fit the bill. I hope the Legislature doesn’t waste anymore time on this, because it’s DOA."
This reassuring statement gives us hope and grounds us in the reality that though the legislative session will continue to be challenging, there are people in positions of power who, just like us, are fighting to create safer and more affirming schools for the LGBTQ+ youth.