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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Montana Lawmakers Vote Down Transgender Health Care Restriction

Montana lawmakers Tuesday voted down a proposal that would regulate health care for transgender youth in the state. Another bill aimed at transgender youth is still alive.

Eight Republicans joined Senate Democrats in voting to indefinitely postpone the bill instead of advancing it after the proposal had already cleared the House.

House Bill 427 would bar doctors from performing gender-affirming surgeries on minors, and from referring minors to other providers to receive that type of care out of state.

The sponsor, Republican Rep. John Fuller, said he brought the policy to prevent children from making long lasting health care decisions. Opponents, including health care professionals and LGBTQ advocates, said it undermines best medical practice.

Fuller is carrying a second bill that would ban transgender women and girls from competing in interscholastic women’s sports. Lawmakers advanced the bill after amending it to add a clause that will void the policy if the federal government deems it discriminatory and decides to pull education funding from the state. The state will have to appeal that decision under the bill.

Both the House of Representatives and state Senate will have to concur that amendment before the bill moves onto the governor’s desk.

Shaylee began covering state government and politics for Montana Public Radio in August 2020. Originally from Belgrade, Montana, she graduated from the University of Montana’s journalism program and previously worked as a reporter for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and UM’s Legislative News Service. Please share tips, questions and concerns by emailing shaylee.ragar@mso.umt.edu. 
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