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Consumer health advocates urge governor to sign bill package; NY protests for Jewish democracy heighten as Netanyahu meets UN today; Multiple Utah cities set to use ranked-choice voting in next election.

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The Pentagon wants to help service members denied benefits under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," advocates back a new federal office of gun violence prevention, and a top GOP member assures the Ukrainian president more help is coming.

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An Indigenous project in South Dakota seeks to protect tribal data sovereignty, advocates in North Carolina are pushing back against attacks on public schools, and Arkansas wants the hungriest to have access to more fruits and veggies.

Legislation Advances Targeting LGBTQ+ Arizonans

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Wednesday, April 12, 2023   

This week, multiple bills are making their way through the Arizona Legislature some say unfairly target LGBTQ+ people.

One measure, Senate Bill 1040, could ban transgender students and school personnel from using a restroom or locker room matching their gender identity. Instead, schools would have to provide what the bill describes as "reasonable accommodations."

It could also open the door for schools to be sued if a student uses a facility not in line with, as the bill puts it, their "immutable biological sex."

Rep. Andrés Cano, D-Tucson, called the bill "a slap in the face."

"Are we going to just look the other way when we advance bills like Senate Bill 1040 that cause harm?" Cano asked. "At this very moment, this very discussion is making constituents in my district question whether they should even be alive."

Cano argued the bill, introduced by Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, will only further marginalize a population already at higher risk for suicide. Kavanagh countered the bill aims to "balance the modesty needs of students."

According to the Trevor Project, LGBTQ+ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers.

Rep. Patty Contreras, D-Phoenix, co-chair of the Arizona LGBTQ Legislative Caucus, said Arizona is in need of bills affirming and supportive of LGBTQ+ lives. Instead, she is concerned this session, they are seeing legislation to, as she puts it, "stigmatize transgender students."

"By not accepting transgender students, you are building an army of haters and causing violence to be perpetrated on this community," Contreras contended.

Senate Bill 1005 leaves schools open to litigation for providing supportive spaces for LGBTQ+ students, and Senate Bill 1026 prohibits state money from being used for drag shows designed as an all-ages type of performance.


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