GOP Gov Signs Bill Prohibiting Taxpayer Funding For Sex-Change Surgeries

Republican Gov. Brad Little of Idaho signed a bill Wednesday banning the state from using public funding to cover sex-change procedures.

House Bill 668 was introduced in February by Republican Reps. Julianne Young and Bruce Skaug and bars the state from using Medicaid funds to pay for sex-change surgeries or cross-sex hormones, according to the text. The legislation passed the state House of Representatives 58 to 11 and the state Senate 26 to 8, with one abstaining, in March before Little signed the legislation into law, the state legislature website shows.

“The Legislature finds that the surgical operations and medical procedures described in section 18-1506C(3), Idaho Code, when used for purposes of altering the appearance of an individual in order to affirm the individual’s perception of the individual’s sex in a way that is inconsistent with the individual’s biological sex, carry substantial risks and have known harmful effects, including irreversible physical alterations and, in some cases, sterility and lifelong sexual dysfunction,” the bill reads.

Skaug explained that the purpose of the bill was to primarily protect taxpayers and prevent lawsuits against the state, according to The Associated Press.

“This is a taxpayer protection bill in my view,” Skaug said.

Opponents of the bill argued that the legislation targets transgender residents, according to the Idaho Capital Sun. Howard Belodoff, an attorney who testified in opposition to the bill and is engaged in a lawsuit against the state over Medicaid coverage for transgender procedures, claimed the bill violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause and that the state may face more lawsuits over the issue costing “millions.”

“I’m not speculating,” Belodoff said. “I’m just telling you based on my knowledge and experience.”

Little also signed another bill Friday prohibiting students from using bathrooms that do not align with their biological sex. The new law, which will take effect on July 1, also requires public schools to have separate locker rooms, showers, dressing areas and overnight accommodations for male and female students.

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