Idaho House passes two transgender bills; major Idaho businesses urge Senate to reject them

Idaho's House of Representatives has passed two bills affecting transgender people—one that blocks transgender people from changing their birth certificates, and one that blocks transgender girls and women from playing on female sports teams.

The fate of the bills now lies with the state Senate, and some of Idaho's largest employers have some words for the lawmakers.


Most states allow people to change the sex on their birth certificate, just as people can change their name or parentage after a legal name change, adoption, or other major life change. Birth certificates are used as the legal determiner of gender for schools, healthcare, and the law—including legal IDs like driver's licenses—which is why it's important for transgender people to have the option of changing them.

Ohio and Tennessee are the only other states that don't allow transgender people to augment their birth certificates.

The text of the new law says "there is a compelling interest in maintaining accurate, quantitative, biology-based material facts on Idaho certificates of birth that provide material facts fundamental to the performance of government functions that secure the public health and safety."

However, Idaho's law flies in the face of a 2018 federal court ruling forbidding the state from blocking transgender citizens from changing their birth certificates. That court ruling stated, "A rule providing an avenue to obtain a birth certificate with a listed sex that aligns with an individual's gender identity promotes the health, well-being, and safety of transgender people without impacting the rights of others."

Debates over transgender rights have far-reaching effects, and not o on transgender people. Major Idaho companies Chobani, Clif Bar, HP, and Micron all have a vested interest in the law, as their ability to recruit employees can be affected by lawmakers' decisions.

In a join letter sent March 2 to Senate State Affairs Committee Chairwoman Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, and Vice Chairman Mark Harris, R-Soda Springs, the companies wrote:

Dear Senators Lodge and Harris:

We write to share our concerns regarding legislation that recently passed the House of Representatives and is now pending in the Senate. Specifically, this includes House Bills 500 and 509.

As businesses, we're committed to the principles of diversity and inclusion, and we are very proud to call Idaho home. It's a privilege and honor to be ambassadors for the state in our daily interactions with customers, communities, and companies across the nation and around the world. We proudly talk about its strong and growing economy, and how it's one of the best places in the nation to do business and live. Most important, we talk about the welcoming, big-hearted spirit of its people, and why our employees are so grateful to live and raise their families here.

This is a well-earned reputation and these bills targeting transgender Idahoans puts that reputation at risk and goes against creating a workforce that welcomes all. Passage of these bills could hurt our ability to attract and retain top talent to Idaho, and it could damage Idaho's ability to attract new businesses and create new jobs.

With respect, we ask you to support all of Idaho's diverse communities and reject these measures.

Sincerely,

Chobani

Clif Bar & Company

HP

Micron

True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

Sir David Attenborough has one of the most recognized and beloved voices in the world. The British broadcaster and nature historian has spent most of his 94 years on Earth educating humanity about the wonders of the natural world, inspiring multiple generations to care about the planet we all call home.

And now, Attenborough has made a new name for himself. Not only has he joined the cool kids on Instagram, he's broken the record for reaching a million followers in the shortest period. It only took four hours and 44 minutes, which is less time than it took Jennifer Aniston, who held the title before him at 5 hours and 16 minutes.

A day later, Attenborough is sitting at a whopping 3.4 million followers. And he only has two Instagram posts so far, both of them videos. But just watch his first one and you'll see why he's attracted so many fans.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


via msleja / TikTok

In 2019, the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada instituted a policy that forbids teachers from participating in "partisan political activities" during school hours. The policy states that "any signage that is displayed on District property that is, or becomes, political in nature must be removed or covered."

The new policy is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision that limits public employees' First Amendment protections for speech while performing their official duties.

This new policy caused a bit of confusion with Jennifer Leja, a 7th and 8th-grade teacher in the district. She wondered if, as a bisexual woman, the new policy forbids her from discussing her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less

One night in 2018, Sheila and Steve Albers took their two youngest sons out to dinner. Their 17-year-old son, John, was in a crabby mood—not an uncommon occurrence for the teen who struggled with mental health issues—so he stayed home.

A half hour later, Sheila's started getting text messages that John wasn't safe. He had posted messages with suicidal ideations on social media and his friends had called the police to check on him. The Albers immediately raced home.

When they got there, they were met with a surreal scene. Their minivan was in the neighbor's yard across the street. John had been shot in the driver's seat six times by a police officer who had arrived to check on him. The officer had fired two shots as the teen slowly backed the van out of the garage, then 11 more after the van spun around backward. But all the officers told the Albers was that John had "passed" and had been shot. They wouldn't find out until the next day who had shot and killed him.

Keep Reading Show less