In what supporters call a “parental rights” movement, Ohio lawmakers introduced House Bill 616 – similar to a new Florida law designed to prevent educators from discussing gender issues with young children. Meanwhile, the Texas Tribune reports on the pushback from Texas’ plan to pass similar legislation.
The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio GOP proposes HB 616, version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill
A version of Florida’s controversial law limiting how teachers talk about sexual orientation and gender identity has been introduced in Ohio. Known as the Parental Rights Bill by supporters and the “Don’t Say Gay” law by opponents, Ohio’s Bill 616 would ban discussions of sexual orientation and identity. gender until fourth grade in all public schools and most private schools. “The classroom is a place that seeks answers for our children without political activism,” Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland, said in a statement. “Parents deserve and should have a say in what their children are taught in schools.” (Staver, 4/5)
The Texas Tribune: Texas educators and LGBTQ advocates slam ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s plan to pass a Texas bill limiting class talk about LGBTQ people is touted by Republicans as a way to protect children from adult ‘sex lives’ at a young age . But education officials say schools in Texas don’t have classes on sex from kindergarten through third grade. And LGBTQ advocacy groups accuse Republicans of pushing potential legislation out of an afterthought — silencing any acknowledgment, however informal, that LGBTQ people exist. (Beeferman, 4/6)
In other health news across the US –
Des Moines Registry: Iowa Legislature Passes Bill to Criminalize Elder Abuse
Iowa would increase penalties for abusing Iowans 60 or older and create a new criminal charge of financial abuse under a bill currently headed to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office. The legislation, a top priority of AARP and other agencies that represent older Iowans, would increase criminal penalties for assaults and robberies against Iowans age 60 or older. It would also create a new criminal charge for “financial abuse of an older person” and further create new criminal penalties for “elder abuse”, a charge that includes emotional abuse, neglect, isolation and the sexual exploitation of older people in Iowa. (Richardson and Gruber-Miller, 4/5)
AP: Arkansas health secretary resigns for CDC job
Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero, who has led the state’s response to COVID-19 through much of the coronavirus pandemic, announced on Tuesday that he is stepping down to take up a position in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Romero said his resignation as the state’s top health official would be effective May 6, and a spokeswoman said he would become director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Governor Asa Hutchinson did not say who would replace Romero as head of the state health department. (DeMillo, 4/5)
The Texas Tribune: More than 100 children have died in Texas care since 2020, report says
More than 100 children have died in Texas since 2020 while in the state’s child welfare system, including two who died of complications from COVID-19, according to a report from the Texas Department of Family and Protective. Services provided to legislators on Friday. Forty-four children died in 2020 and 38 in 2021 while in state custody, according to a DFPS report obtained by The Texas Tribune. The figures are comparable to those reported in previous years. Twenty-two children have died in the first three months of this year, roughly half the number of deaths in each of the previous five years. (Oxner, 4/4)
KHN: $11 million for workplace rehabilitation in North Carolina raises concerns
A drug treatment center, popular with North Carolina legislators, is located here in a residential neighborhood and functions as a village unto itself. Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers, better known as TROSA, serves approximately 400 people a day on a campus with rows of housing, cafeterias, a full gym and a hair salon. The program, which began in 1994, is uniquely designed: treatment, accommodation and meals are free for participants. And TROSA does not charge for insurance. Instead, residents work for about two years at TROSA’s many businesses, including a moving company, thrift store, and lawn care service. Program officials say the work helps residents overcome addiction and train for future jobs. Of those who graduate, 96% of individuals remain sober and 91% are employed a year later, according to the program’s latest report. (Pattani and Knopf, 4/6)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage by major news outlets. Sign up for an email subscription.