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Gov. Hutchinson. Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Monday vetoed a bill that criminalizes gender-affirming care for transgender kids, saying the bill is "a product of the cultural war in America" and a "vast" government overreach and "extreme."

Why it matters: LGBTQ advocates consider the veto a win, although Hutchinson called on lawmakers to "think through the issue again" and take another approach.

The big picture: Over 20 bills have been introduced this year to criminalize gender-affirming care for trans kids. Many would make puberty blockers and surgery a misdemeanor offense for doctors, while some states, like Alabama, would make it a felony offense.

What they're saying: Hutchinson said if the bill becomes law, "then we are creating new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people."

  • "It is undisputed that the population of minors who struggle with gender incongruity or gender dysphoria is an extreme minority. But while they are a minority, they deserve the guiding hand of their parents and of the health care professionals that their family has chosen."
  • "House Bill 1570 is opposed by the leading Arkansas medical associations and the concerned expressed is that denying best medical care to transgender youth can lead to significant harm to the young person, from suicidal tendencies and social isolation to increased drug use," he said.

"I think people underrated how extreme this bill is," Gillian Branstetter, a spokesperson for the National Women's Law Center, said, adding that the veto is a win for LGBTQ and trans advocates.

  • "If you cannot get health care in the state where you live, you cannot live in that state. This would amount to effectively banning trans kids from the state of Arkansas," she said.
  • On the possibility of the bill moving forward or being reintroduced, Branstetter said, "I would desperately urge lawmakers in Arkansas, including Gov. Hutchinson, to learn from this experience, learn from the outpouring of concern for these kids."

What's next: Hutchinson said it's likely the state's General Assembly will override his veto, noting its overwhelming support from lawmakers.

Go deeper

27 mins ago - Health

CDC: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines overwhelmingly prevented hospitalizations from the Omicron variant, according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention data out Friday.

Driving the news: Pfizer and Moderna boosters were 90% effective at preventing Americans infected with the Omicron variant from ending up in the hospital, per the data.

Janet Yellen co-opts Reaganomics phrase for new Davos speech

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at a speech this week. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. needs to focus on increasing its productive potential, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will tell world leaders Friday, calling for what she terms "modern supply side economics."

Why it matters: She is co-opting a phrase traditionally used by political conservatives to describe low-tax and deregulatory policies — and framing the Biden administration's initiatives as the best path forward to achieve greater national prosperity.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Calling the startup valuation peak

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Anyone who's called a private market peak over the last decade, or even suggested that air was leaking out of the balloon, has been swiftly humbled. "Nothing matters" has consistently proven to be the only thing that matters.

Our thought bubble: The go-go era is history, even if the economy and new company formations remain strong.