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House bills criminalizing librarians, transition-related care, seem DOA in Senate

James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio
Senate Pro Tem Chuck Winder (R-Boise) seen in this undated file photo. Winder told reporters House efforts to criminalize librarians who lend "harmful" materials to minors and transition-related care for trans youth aren't likely to advance.

Bills to outlaw transition-related healthcare for transgender kids and criminalize librarians for lending “harmful” books to minors seem dead on arrival in the Idaho Senate.

Senate Pro Tem Chuck Winder (R-Boise) told reporters Wednesday that both proposals are unlikely to see the light of day.

“I don’t think you’ll see some of the craziness that the House seems to like to do get very far in the Senate,” Winder said.

In particular, he called House Bill 666, which would get rid of the exemption for libraries, schools, and museums under Idaho’s law banning the disseminating harmful material to minors, “mischief.”

“I think it’s very appropriately numbered – 666 – if you understand the symbolism of the number,” Winder said.

That number refers to one of the beasts of revelation in the Bible that act as a false prophet against God.

Winders said supporters in the House never specifically revealed where they found the books they objected to, which mostly dealt with LGBTQ issues.

If that bill had become law, those working in the education field could have been charged with a misdemeanor. It would’ve carried a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel (D-Boise) applauded the news.

“I’m just extremely happy to hear that and we’ll bring some chocolates over to Sen. Winder,” Rubel said.

Without saying which bills, Winder said committee chairs in the Senate are holding more legislation than normal in their desk drawers as Idaho’s primary election is about eight weeks away.

As for House Bill 675, which would make it a felony for doctors to prescribe puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones or perform sex-reassignment surgery on minors, Winder doesn’t see it being very popular.

“If I were a betting person, I would give it pretty low odds of advancing.”

He assigned both bills to the Senate State Affairs Committee, which is mostly made up of lawmakers in leadership positions and a committee he sits on.

Its chairwoman, Sen. Patti Anne Lodge (R-Huston), is not seeking re-election.

Neither proposal will be officially dead until the legislature adjourns for the year, which is expected to be March 25. After that, House lawmakers could potentially use one or both bills as bargaining chips by sitting on legislation the Senate wants passed.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

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