Jan 29, 2024 - News

Two divisive bills on their way to governor's desk

The Utah State Capitol.

Photo by: Jon G. Fuller/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Two heavily debated bills that would upend diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs and restrict the rights of transgender Utahns are on their way to the governor's desk.

State of play: Both bills were prioritized and fast-tracked through the Republican-dominated state Legislature in the first two weeks of Utah's 45-day session.

Details: H.B. 261 would dismantle DEI programs at public universities, colleges, and government agencies.

  • H.B. 257 would ban transgender people's access to sex-specific public restrooms and locker rooms unless their birth certificate matches their gender identity.

The other side: Utah Democrats have spoken out against both bills, saying they would harm historically underrepresented groups and LGBTQ+ communities in the state.

What we're watching: The far-reaching bills' full ramifications on the public education system are not yet understood and could prompt litigation, according to Democrats.

Of note: A spokesperson for Utah Gov. Spencer Cox did not confirm on Friday whether he planned to sign either of the bills.

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