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Expert warns of upcoming threats to democracy across the nation; Judge in Trump documents case rejects suggestions to step aside; NC businesses fear effects of 'bathroom bill'; Report says restaurants allow abuse, disease risk at MD animal farms.

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A congresswoman celebrates Biden protections for mixed status families, Louisiana's Ten Commandments law faces an inevitable legal challenge, and a senator moves to repeal the strict 19th century anti-obscenity and anti-abortion Comstock Act.

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Rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town, prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands and a Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival.

TX High Court Not Persuaded to Protect Transgender Health Care

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Tuesday, September 5, 2023   

Texas has adopted some of the strictest gender-affirming transgender restrictions in the nation. And the leader of a trans advocacy group says it has created a "dystopian" nightmare.

Emmett Schelling, executive director with Transgender Education Network of Texas, said a ruling by the state Supreme Court last week that allows Senate Bill 14 to take effect this month - a law that bans trans youths from receiving medical care and treatment for gender dysphoria. Schelling believes court rulings have become political.

"We've trusted the courts to hold and honor impartiality but unfortunately what we see is the highest court in our state really acting, in my opinion, in deeply bad faith," Schelling said.

The Texas Supreme Court did not provide any written explanation for allowing the law to remain in effect. Starting in 2022, Texas Governor Greg Abbott encouraged a law that would criminalize gender affirmation as a form of child abuse. Since then, Texas lawmakers have introduced dozens of anti-trans bills targeting transgender youths.

Schelling said new laws in Texas are separating families. In some cases, one parent is staying behind for their job while another parent is leaving to protect the medical needs of their transgender child. He believes lawmakers and courts are sowing seeds of distrust, which at the end of the day is harming children and youth.

"We have providers fleeing, we have families fleeing," Schelling explained. "How do these kids trust the judicial system? How do these kids trust the state when this is the reality of what the state has done to them?"

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Texas granted a temporary restraining order last week to block another bill targeting the LGBTQ community from taking effect last Friday. Senate Bill 12 bans any performance that could be perceived as "sexual" when a minor is present and on public property, and proposes criminal penalties for artists, business owners and others accused of violating it.


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The 2024 Summer U.S. Conference of Mayors in Kansas City, Mo., will be under the leadership of its president, Mayor Hillary Schieve of Reno, Nev., and host Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.
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