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Another trans-related bill is heading to the governor’s desk.

House Bill 1569 was passed in its final Senate reading Thursday afternoon.

The bill is authored by Rep. Peggy Mayfield, R-Martinsville, and passed through the Indiana House Courts and Criminal Code Committee, the full House and now the Senate. It is among multiple bills targeting trans rights making their way through the General Assembly this session.

The bill would restrict gender reassignment surgery for inmates in Indiana prisons, prohibiting the Department of Corrections from using any state resources to pay for hormone therapy or surgery for inmates.

Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, pointed out what he considered a crucial flaw when he spoke on the bill: It would impact only one person behind bars.

“Currently DOC houses over 100 individuals on their gender-diverse log,” said Taylor.

He explained the log includes those who are gender nonconforming and nonbinary, not those who have already transitioned. He said 36 of those individuals are currently on hormones and two are receiving gender-affirming care, but this new bill would impact only one of them.

“Maybe the reason why we all do not want to hear this issue is because we are effectively changing public policy for one person,” said Taylor.

He believes the legislation may ultimately subject the state to a lawsuit.

“When a prisoner goes to jail or prison, they do not lose all rights to procedures and/or support. It actually gets enhanced because the state is responsible for paying for it,” said Taylor. “So what we are doing, right here in this piece of legislation, is a direct violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.”

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Stacey Donato (above), R-Logansport, responded by saying that withholding gender-reassignment surgery is neither cruel or unusual and that to violate the Eighth Amendment, it must be both.

Taylor ended his remarks by stating he does not see this bill as an effort to save taxpayer money but to stop individuals from transitioning.

“We are going to pass a piece of legislation that will subject us to a lawsuit, to impact one person. One person,” he emphasized.

“I don’t think there is any disagreement as to whether or not the state should pay for the surgery. I think there is a disagreement as to whether or not the surgery should happen at all.”

The bill passed 9-38. It now heads to the governor’s desk.

Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, provided a jarring transition when he rose right after the vote on a point of personal privilege to say, “It’s a great day to be at the ballpark.” He then led the chamber in a rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Thursday was Major League Baseball’s Opening Day.

Kyra Howard is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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