Trans Refuge Law
Senate DFLers fought hard to pass the Trans Refuge bill, which makes Minnesota a safe harbor for transgender people, and in particular transgender kids, their families, and medical providers who provide gender affirming care, when they come to Minnesota to seek gender-affirming health care, especially if they are coming from states that prohibit such care or allow state interference when parents help or allow their child receive gender-affirming health care.
The country has seen an attack against transgender people, especially over the last several years. Nearly 250 bills in 32 states have been under consideration that target trans children, ban access to gender-affirming and often life-saving health care, criminalize providers of such care, remove trans children from homes if their parents help them receive gender-affirming health care, and charging these parents with child abuse.
This bill passed as neighboring states have begun enacting new laws that have made access to medical procedures for minors more difficult. Nineteen states have passed bills banning care for transgender kids, and some states have gone as far as banning care for all transgender people regardless of age.
This bill protects transgender people and their families from legal repercussions from states that have outlawed gender-affirming health care if they travel to Minnesota to receive such care, and protects children seeking gender-affirming health care from being used as pawns in custody battles or political fights.
Gender-affirming health care is based on the needs and age of the child, provided by licensed physicians, decided on by the child and their families and loved ones – to imply that parents and guardians aren’t in the room when these decisions are being made is a misunderstanding of what gender-affirming health care is. Once again politicians across the country are trying to place themselves in the doctor’s office between a patient and their doctor, and Minnesota will continue to ensure that won’t happen here.
Additional resources on how to support and respect transgender people from the National Center for Transgender Equality can be found here.
Codifying Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare for Gender-Affirming Coverage
It is now clear that enrollees on Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare will have access to gender-affirming care. Minnesota has been covering gender-affirming care since OutFront Minnesota v. Piper in 2016. The Department of Commerce and the Department of Health articulated these expectations in bulletins because the law contradicted this policy.
Research from the Dove Company shows Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home because of the way they’re wearing their hair. 1 in 2 Black children have experienced hair discrimination as early as five years old.
Senate DFLers took action this session to prevent this, passing the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act, or CROWN Act, protecting Minnesotans from discrimination based on hair textures and styles. By adding this protection to the state’s Human Rights Act Minnesota once again leads the way in ensuring individuals are able to show up in all places as they are, without fear of discrimination or retaliation.
Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act (MIFPA)
The DFL Senate majority codified into state law the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and re-enforced our state’s recognition of the sovereignty of Tribal nations and communities in Minnesota by passing an updated version of the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act (MIFPA).
Minnesota led the nation by enacting the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act in 1985, which strengthened and expanded parts of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and was originally meant to complement ICWA. However, ICWA is now threatened to be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Enshrining ICWA into state law and updating MIFPA was necessary to support the preservation of the Tribal identity of Indian children in Minnesota and was critical to recognizing Tribes as the appropriate entities to provide direction to the state when it comes to the best interests of Tribal children.
Conversion Therapy Ban
The Senate DFL majority banned the harmful practice of conversion therapy for minors and vulnerable adults after years of obstruction. It is now illegal for a mental health practitioner or mental health professional to seek to change a minor’s or vulnerable adult’s sexual orientation, gender identity, behaviors, expressions, or eliminate the attraction to the same gender. Any attempt to do so is now considered unprofessional conduct, which may be subject to disciplinary action by the licensing board of the mental health practitioner/professional.
In addition to banning conversion therapy for certain individuals and prohibiting Medical Assistance coverage of conversion therapy, the sale or advertisement of conversion therapy that infers homosexuality as a disorder or promises to change an individual’s sexual or gender identity will be considered consumer fraud.
Conversion therapy is not a medical practice sanctioned by any leading professional medical association. Therefore, it should not be legal to provide services to patients that are not evidence-based and on false grounds, especially when there isevidence of the significant harm caused by those services.
Did not pass:
Equal Rights Amendment
The Equal Rights Amendment, first drafted 100 years ago, ensures equality under the law regardless of sex or gender.
Senate DFLers passed a resolution this session for Congress affirming the requirements have been met to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and it should be the twenty-eighty amendment to the US Constitution. They also passed a bill to place the ERA on the ballot for Minnesotans, asking whether it is the will of Minnesotans to enshrine equality in the state constitution.
Time ran out in session before final stakeholder agreement could be reached around language and timing, but Senate DFLers are committed to working to ensure these important protections are placed on the ballot for Minnesotans to weigh in.