Idaho Governor Brad Little signed House Bills 440, 500 and 509 into law today, measures supported by most Republicans in the Idaho legislature but adamantly opposed by Democrats.
HB 440 will remove discrimination protections for hiring practices in public entities. HB 500 will require high school girls to prove their gender to participate in high school sports through a genital exam, DNA test, or testosterone levels test. HB 509 will ban all Idahoans from changing the gender marker on their birth certificate.
“Idaho’s Attorney General, legal advocacy groups and numerous qualified lawyers have already made it clear that these unconstitutional pieces of legislation will end up in court and Idaho will lose,” Representative Lauren Necochea, D-Boise, said. “I am disgusted and disappointed that Governor Little has decided to waste valuable taxpayer money to fight court battles over issues that are not a priority to Idahoans. Our residents are losing their jobs, getting kicked out of their homes and struggling to make ends meet. Instead of wasting state money to fight court battles that we have already lost in the past, we should be prioritizing taking care of our fellow Idahoans.
“During a national pandemic like we have never seen before, Governor Little has vetoed several other bills with the justification of saving money to help Idahoans handle this ongoing crisis. He should have vetoed these hateful, discriminatory laws as well. I am stunned the GOP would prioritize genital exams for children and allowing hiring discrimination while people are dying by the thousands nationwide.”
“We are not trying to do anything except save women’s sports for girls and women," Senator Mary Souza, R-Coeur d'Alene, said in advocating HB 500 on the Senate floor. "It is in the state’s interest. So is there a problem now? Not in Idaho. Although there was a young man on a track team in eastern Idaho who decided a year ago that he wanted to run on the girls team. He was on the boys track team, and he wanted to sign up for the girls track team. And he thought about it, talked to the coach and made a decision not to do that. I don’t know any of the details, but that’s what the outcome was. It’s coming. The issue is in states across the country.”
While similar measures have been considered in other states, Idaho becomes the first in the nation to enact such legislation.
According to U.S. News, more than 40 bills were introduced this year targeting transgender youth. About half sought to ban transgender girls from competing at various levels of girls' sports and others sought to ban certain types of gender-transition medical treatment for minors.
Most of the bills died, and those still alive are not considered likely to pass.