Congressman Luke Messer (R-IN) introduced a bill that will protect states’ rights to form their own “bathroom bills” and prohibit the federal government from penalizing any school that does not follow its recently issued “guidance”.
The Christian Post is reporting on the Public School Act of 2016 (H.R. 5275) which was introduced last week by the Congressman from Indiana in response to the May 13th guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice threatening schools with loss of funds if they do not allow public school students to use the bathroom that conforms with their gender identity.
The bill states that decisions regarding gender identity and the use of school bathrooms and locker rooms should be made at the State and local level, not by the federal government. It also ensures that no school will face Federal penalties for failing to comply should the Administration attempt to withhold Federal funds.
“It shall not be unlawful under any Federal law (including title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972) for a State, or local government of a State, to enact or enforce a policy regarding the use of sex-segregated bath- rooms, or sex-segregated locker rooms, of educational institutions on the basis of gender identity,” the bill states.
“Federal financial assistance may not be reduced or denied on the basis that a State, or local government of a State, enacts or enforces a policy regarding the use of sex-segregated bathrooms, or sex-segregated locker rooms, of an educational institution on the basis of gender identity.”
The bill currently has 33 co-sponsors who are all Republicans.
“Everyone on both sides of this debate should be treated with respect,” Congressman Messer said in a statement. “And, through public discourse, I believe we can come to a solution that protects the privacy and dignity of everyone involved. But, it’s irresponsible for the Obama Administration to begin this social experiment in the bathrooms of our nation’s elementary schools. Decisions of this magnitude should be made at the state and local level by people who will put the interest of our kids ahead of political ideology.”
Lawmakers have also sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Education Secretary John King urging their offices to explain how they plan to enforce their transgender bathroom edict.
Among other things, the letter demands that both departments explain the statutory authority they used to issue the guidance. It also directs them to “Explain why schools must disregard the privacy, ‘discomfort,’ and emotional strain imposed on other students during use of bathroom, showering, and changing facilities and overnight accommodations in schools that comply with this guidance. Lastly, it asks them to provide an explanation for what kind of consulting was done with guidance counselors, school administrators, parents and guardians of students before implementing the guidance.
The departments have until May 30 to respond.
As for the administration’s claim that their bathroom rules are supported under existing discrimination law under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sen. James Lankford (R-OH) sent a letter to King demanding a justification for this claim.
” . . .[I]n reality, the guidance represents an abrupt departure from long standing sex discrimination policy,” Lankford wrote. “In keeping with the [Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR)] troubling tradition of flouting federal law to advance substantive policy serving the administration’s political agenda, OCR’s latest guidance conflates an individual’s gender identity with the widely accepted and longstanding understanding of sex without support in Title IX.”
Americans can expect the fireworks to continue on this issue for some time.
As Rep. Bill Flores, chair of the Republican Study Committee told the Daily Signal, the administration’s actions “are politically motivated and Congress has every responsibility to challenge them.”
Contact your representatives and ask him or her to support the Public School Act of 2016!
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