Democratic Representative files transgender bathroom bill

01/04/2017 06:17 PM

FRANKFORT — Despite the Republican Party leadership attempting to side-step social issues in rhetoric before the session, a Democratic lawmaker has filed two pieces of legislation pushed by the GOP in previous sessions.

Rep. Rick Nelson, D-Middlesboro, filed House Bill 105 and House Bill 106 on the first day of the session.

HB 106 would require schools and state and local government buildings only allow patrons use bathrooms that match with their biological sex. The Democratic lawmaker also filed HB105 which is similar to previous religious freedom bills in the General Assembly.

Pure Politics spoke to Nelson about the decision to bring forward the so-called transgender bathroom bill on Wednesday.

The Middlesboro Democrat said he supported the bills previously, and wanted to make sure the bills were pursued this session.

“I’ve had very few folks say those are bad bills, we can’t support them,” he said.

Before the legislative session in a year end interview with media, Gov. Matt Bevin said he opposed the transgender bathroom idea.

“Making government rules that don’t even need government rules would be silly,” Bevin said of the legislation.

Despite reservations from Bevin, Nelson thought that public support could propel the legislation forward.

The Fairness Campaign lambasted the idea of the bills in a press release sent Wednesday afternoon, pointing to legislation in North Carolina, Indiana, and other states which have resulted in loss of millions in tourism, corporate expansion and investment, and job growth.

“The effect of passing this type of discriminatory legislation is clear. It will cost the state millions of dollars,” Fairness Campaign director Chris Hartman said in a statement. “If Kentucky lawmakers want to remain focused on improving our commonwealth’s economy, this is exactly the legislation they should avoid. Furthermore, if Kentucky fans hope to host NCAA College Basketball championship games in the future, they must speak out against HB 105 and HB 106.”

Interview and video by political reporter Kevin Wheatley.

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