Leaders of the chambers of commerce in Tulsa and Oklahoma City want lawmakers to ease restrictions on homosexuals using bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex in public schools.
Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Chamber, begged lawmakers “to consider the severe economic consequences” of not obeying the mandate by Obama Administration to let boys dressed like girls go into girls restrooms and locker rooms and girls dressed like boys do the same thing.
“…why is the state seeking to address a problem that is nonexistent…” Neal wrote.
Mark VanLandingham, vice president of the Oklahoma City Chamber, said passage of Senate Bill 1619 would “have a devastating impact on economic development in Oklahoma.”
Obama’s Education Department sent a mandate to public schools to accommodate so-called “transgender students” who don’t dress according to their biology of birth. The chamber leadership got their wish as the SB 1619 could not get to a House vote due to a committee deadline vote of 10-10. Four Republicans voted to kill the bill and a similar resolution. Oklahoma has joined 10 other states in suing the federal government to overturn the directive.
State Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, said Obama’s directive to public schools is unconstitutional and illegal. The administration is using the threat of loss of Title IX federal funding to allow children to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify. Bennett said he will also be sending to his local school districts a letter from his office together with a letter from the Attorney General’s Office advising schools that they do not have to follow the directive:
“This directive to schools is not only unlawful, but the breadth of overreach in this instance by the Obama Administration is shocking – and this from an administration that is incapable of doing anything but overreaching into the private lives of individuals and the sovereign rights of states,” Bennett said. “Oklahomans are simply not going to stand for this utter nonsense. Our phones and e-mails are being flooded by citizens who are enraged by this president’s attempt to use our children as pawns in a liberal agenda. This directive is Biblically wrong, a violation of our state’s sovereignty and it is a serious public safety issue. We are working on legislation that would protect our citizens by not requiring our kids and women to share a facility with anyone who ‘identifies’ as a gender that they were not born. We are going to do everything we can to protect our women and children.”
The Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget voted for the legislation aimed at protecting students and schools from federal overreach as the result of the president’s public school restroom directive regarding transgendered students. President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman is the Senate author. “The Senate believes in local control of schools because parents and teachers are best equipped to make decisions on what’s best for students. Senate Bill 1619 doesn’t provide instruction on whether schools should follow the recent edict of the federal government,” Bingman said.
SB 1619 defines a person’s sex as “the physical condition of being male or female, as identified at birth by that individual’s anatomy.” The bill states that if a school district allows a member of the opposite sex to use a bathroom and athletic facilities for the opposite sex, it must provide for a religious accommodation for students or their parents who object to the policy. The accommodation will apply to restrooms, changing facilities, or showers. Providing access to a single-occupancy restroom, shower, or changing facility will not be an allowable accommodation.
The bill also allows the Attorney General to represent school districts or employees in legal challenges to any federal regulation or mandate that requires a district to implement a policy allowing members of the opposite sex to use a bathroom of the opposite sex.