Utah Senate Amends Controversial Bathroom Bill Impacting Transgender Rights

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Utah Trans Bathroom Bill Amendment

Senate Approval of Revised Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill

Utah’s Republican-dominated Senate approved a revised version of an anti-trans bathroom bill Thursday, following days of flip-flopping over just how anti-trans they wanted it to be. The state House must now sign the revised version before heading to the governor’s desk to become law.

Initial Version of H.B. 257 and its Implications

The initial version of H.B. 257, passed by the Utah State House last week, included a provision banning transgender people from entering bathrooms and other “sex-designated privacy spaces” that align with their gender identity in “publicly funded and publicly owned” buildings unless they have updated their birth certificates and can prove that they have undergone gender confirmation surgery. Violations of the law would have been punishable by up to six months in jail. Journalist Erin Reed highlighted that this version would have applied to a range of public buildings.

State Senator Dan McCay’s Amended Version

On Wednesday, Utah state Sen. Dan McCay (R) introduced an amended version of the bill in the state Senate. As KUER reported, that version only applied to “government-owned and operated” buildings, like public schools, universities, and government buildings. McCay’s version retained the original bill’s ban on transgender locker and changing room access as well as the ban on bathroom access in K–12 schools but eliminated restrictions in other government buildings.

McCay’s Reversal and Introduction of a New Draft

However, McCay reversed course on Thursday, introducing a new draft of the bill minutes before the Senate began its final discussion of HB 257, as reported by KSL.com.

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Provisions of the Latest Version of the Bill

The latest version restores the original’s prohibition on trans people entering bathrooms that align with their gender identity in government-owned buildings, while also narrowly defining “male” and “female” in state code according to biological sex assigned at birth. This version does not include any enforcement mechanism or criminal penalties for violations of the bathroom ban.

Senate’s Vote and Public Response

The Senate approved H.B. 257 Thursday by a 21–8 vote, with only two Republicans joining Democrats in voting against it. As the Senate voted, around 100 people gathered on the Utah Capitol steps to voice their opposition to the bill, urging Gov. Spencer Cox (R) to veto it.

Next Steps and Expected Legal Challenges

H.B. 257 will return to the House for approval before reaching Cox’s desk. However, both critics and supporters expect the bill to face legal challenges.

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