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Bill that prohibits gender-neutral bathroom requirements in contracts clears Idaho Senate

Idaho Statesman 2/8/2023 Ryan Suppe, The Idaho Statesman

An Idaho bill that would bar local governments from requiring contractors to provide transgender people access to restrooms that align with their gender identities cleared a major hurdle Wednesday.

The bill, from Sen. Scott Herndon, R-Sagle, would block state and local governments from requiring that public works contractors provide access to restrooms, showers or changing rooms “on any basis other than biological sex.”

The Senate cleared the legislation Wednesday on a party-line vote. The bill now heads to the House.

Herndon said Bonner County recently required a company seeking a solid waste project contract to “allow biological males to use a women’s restroom facility” and vice versa.

“This general contractor brought this issue to me,” Herndon told the Senate.

Former President Barack Obama in 2014 issued an executive order that compelled federal contractors to accommodate “multi-use restroom facilities or locker facilities for their employees based on gender identity,” Herndon said in a previous committee meeting.

Herndon’s bill would not apply to public works projects that use federal money.

Two Republicans, Sens. Dan Foreman, of Moscow, and Brian Lenney, of Nampa, spoke in favor of the bill. Foreman said the proposal is “based on common sense.”

Senate Minority Leader Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, said the bill is another example of “growing hostility against a group of people who just want to live their lives and go to the bathroom when they need to.”

“This is just one more attack on people who are trans,” she said.

On Tuesday, a House committee cleared another bill that would make it a felony to provide gender-affirming care to transgender minors.

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