According to recent media coverage, the sides in Minnesota’s budget talks were growing close to a deal on an education bill until House Speaker Kurt Daudt requested that the Student Privacy Act be included. This was a bill we both authored, along with several Republican House members, and it eventually was passed in the House. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate but failed.
A recent article (“Dayton rips GOP as layoffs threaten,” May 30) said that the act includes “repeal of a recent Minnesota State High School League policy that gives transgender student athletes access to locker rooms of their choosing.” But the House bill said nothing specifically about transgender students. The legislation was drafted in response to the MSHSL decision in December 2014 that allows transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice, but only to provide clear direction to school districts for how to treat all students rather than a few.
Second, the language of the bill does not prohibit schools from providing alternatives for students choosing to identify as a different gender than their birth gender. It simply states that in public schools, boys and girls will use bathrooms, locker rooms and other places of undress according to their biological sex.
We are both disappointed that the governor would portray the Student Privacy Act as anything different. We are dismayed that such a measure is anything more than common sense.
We believe that students have the right to have their physical privacy protected in the very personal and private areas such as bathrooms and locker rooms. We believe parents expect this. After all, who would want their junior high daughter sharing a locker room shower with a biological boy?
The people of Minnesota are on our side with this issue. We respectfully request that the governor, House and Senate leaders reconsider this common-sense policy provision.
Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, and Kathy Lohmer, R-Stillwater, are members of the Minnesota House.