Federal Enforcement Actions: The joint decision by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education to withdraw and rescind past guidance on transgendered students means those departments will not be independently pursuing enforcement actions against schools and/or threatening the loss of federal funds based on a school district’s alleged failure to implement each and every aspect of the former guidelines.
As a practical matter, enforcement of the rescinded guidance has been on hold since last August when a federal district court in Texas issued a nationwide injunction blocking enforcement. (See previous post.) The Wisconsin Department of Justice was one of several state departments that joined a federal lawsuit challenging the guidance that resulted in the issuance of that injunction. (See previous post.) Given the latest action from the new Trump administration, that lawsuit is “essentially moot,” according to a state DOJ spokesman. Continue reading Where Does The Feds’ Withdrawal of Transgender Guidance Leave School Districts?
The author of Assembly Bill 469, state Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum), has made public an amendment to his proposal that would require public school boards to designate school restrooms and changing rooms (i.e., locker or shower rooms) accessible by multiple students as for the exclusive use of either “males” or “females.”
Assembly Substitute Amendment 1 would allow schools to open a gender-neutral multi-use bathroom, provided it has stalls with floor-to-ceiling partitions or walls.
This change comes in response to questions raised by certain legislators at the public hearing on the bill. The WASB still opposes the bill as amended because the amendment does not address any of the concerns we have raised.
Read More: Molly Beck’s story in the Wisconsin State Journal
As we posted late last week, the Assembly Education Committee is planning to hold a hearing on Thursday, December 17. We now know what other bills will likely be on the agenda:
- Assembly Bill 481 Relating to: limitations on borrowing by school districts and the use by school districts of resolutions and referenda to authorize bonding for capital projects or increase revenue limits and scheduling of school district referendums to exceed revenue limits.
There will likely be an amendment introduced before the hearing (WASB will update you as soon as it is introduced. Follow the WASB Legislative Update blog for the latest developments.)
WASB opposes this bill as drafted and encourages members to contact their legislators as well as Education Committee members (see below). See Talking Points & Sample Materials
- Assembly Bill 517 Relating to: reporting crimes and other incidents that occur on school property, on school transportation, and at school sanctioned events and granting rule-making authority.
Continue reading Alert: Committee to Hear Bills Imposing Referenda/Borrowing Restrictions, Crime Reporting Mandates, Vocational Ed Licensure Changes; Possible Vote on Changing Room Bill
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel clarified that the state Department of Justice (DOJ) would not defend school districts sued for implementing a transgender bathroom policy proposed by state Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) & state Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) (from WKOW – Madison):
At a public hearing on Assembly Bill 469 Thursday, several Democrats and school district administrators expressed doubts that DOJ would defend a district in that situation. But AB 469 author Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) testified that DOJ may step in and defend districts if asked on such cases.
“I heard that and I cringed a little bit,” said Schimel. “The Department of Justice doesn’t represent individual school districts. They have their own counsel for that. We would represent the superintendent of public instruction (DPI) at the state level, if there was some challenge brought to them, but not local school districts.”
See WASB’s testimony on AB 469
Assembly Bill 469, authored by state Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) and state Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) would require public school boards to designate school restrooms and changing rooms (i.e., locker or shower rooms) accessible by multiple students as for the exclusive use of either “males” or “females.”
The bill is scheduled for a public hearing on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 417 North, State Capitol, before the Assembly Education Committee. Continue reading Why the WASB will Oppose the Changing Room Bill: Local Control
The Assembly Education Committee, chaired by state Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), plans to hold a public hearing on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015 at 10AM in Room 417 North of the state Capitol on:
Assembly Bill 469 This bill would require public school boards to designate school restrooms and changing rooms accessible by multiple students as for the exclusive use of either “males” or “females.” Read More
Assembly Bill 469 was coauthored by Representatives Kremer, Thiesfeldt, Craig, Gannon, Horlacher, Jacque, Skowronski and Tittl; cosponsored by Senators Nass, Moulton and Stroebel.