FRANKFORT, Ky. — Republican lawmakers revived a sweeping measure that effectively bans gender transition services for transgender youth in Kentucky, repackaging a proposal that passed quickly in both chambers Thursday.

What You Need To Know

  • On Thursday, the last day of the legislative session, Republican lawmakers cobbled together two separate bills geared toward transgender youth

  • The newest version included sections on student pronouns in school, gender transition health care, and restrictions on bathroom facilities and school instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity

  • Supporters of the bill say it is meant to protect children. Opponents say it takes away parents' rights to decide and an example of government overreach

  • The bill passed both chambers Thursday and heads to the governor's desk

Supporters of the bill, which affects how students' pronouns, bathroom policies and instruction on gender identity are addressed in schools, rushed to beat the deadline to retain their power to override an expected gubernatorial veto.

On Thursday, the last day of the legislative session before the veto period, Republican lawmakers cobbled together language from two separate bills geared toward transgender youth. Senate Bill 150, which had stalled in the GOP-dominated Senate in February, in its original version, would say that school districts could not require staff or students to use a student's preferred pronouns. The second bill, House Bill 470, which lawmakers postponed voting on Wednesdy night, would prohibit health care providers from providing gender transition services.

Lawmakers modified SB 150 with provisions from both bills. The newest version included sections on student pronouns in school, gender transition health care, and restrictions on bathroom facilities and school instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.

After a period of debate in which Democrats strongly denounced the bill, it passed quickly through the House and, by Thursday night, the Senate.

Republican House Speaker Pro Tempore David Meade, in presenting the revived bill in committee, said: “Our job is to protect children, and that’s what we’re doing here.”

“Surgery or drugs that completely alter their life, and alter their body, is not something we should be allowing until they are adults,” Meade said later during the House debate.

The bill’s opponents denounced the fast-track maneuvering and the expanded measure’s implications for trans youth in the state. Rep. Josie Raymond (D-Louisville) gave an emotional plea to vote down the bill. “I’m embarrassed and I’m appalled and I’m scared,” the Democrat said in opposing the bill in committee.

Thursday was the last day Kentucky lawmakers were in session until late March when they will reconvene for the final two days of this year’s session. By beating the Thursday deadline, the GOP supermajorities retain their ability to override the governor’s veto.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D-Kentucky), who is seeking re-election this year, said such bills amount to “big government stepping in and imposing its will” on health care decisions that should be left to families.

“I also believe that every child is a child of God — every single one,” Beshear said Thursday at his Team Kentucky update.

The bill’s supporters say they want to protect children from undertaking gender-affirming treatments they might later regret.

“I don’t think this bill could be strong enough,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Tichenor said during a Senate committee hearing Tuesday. “We’re talking about irreparable, permanent changes to a child. Their brains are not developed ... They have no idea what the consequences could be until they get to that age, and at that point, you cannot undo what is being done."

"This is absolute willful, intentional hate,” said Sen. Karen Berg (D-Louisville) during the vote on the Senate floor. "Hate for a small group of people that are the weakest and the most vulnerable among us." 

Berg’s transgender son, Henry Berg Brousseau, died by suicide in December.

Sen. Stephen Meredith (R-Leitchfield) said it was hypocritical for people to condemn supporters of the legislation and turn a “blind eye to 50 years of Roe v. Wade.” 

Rebecca Blankenship, a trans woman who is the executive director of Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky, said opponents gathered at the Capitol were devastated by the vote. 

"I think that all LGBT people in Kentucky have been put on notice that we’re not wanted, that our lives are political tools and that no matter how many of us have to die, the legislature is willing to pass bills to advance their political futures,” she said. 

The governor's veto period begins on Friday and it's likely the governor would veto this legislation. With supermarjorites in both chambers, lawmakers can override a veto when they come back at the end of the month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.