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State Rep. Jeff Shipley, R-Fairfield, speaks at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing Wednesday at the Statehouse in Des Moines — Charlie Neibergall / AP
State Rep. Jeff Shipley, R-Fairfield, speaks at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing Wednesday at the Statehouse in Des Moines — Charlie Neibergall / AP

Iowa lawmakers reject bill restricting Transgender rights
Iowa lawmakers on Wednesday declined to advance a bill that would have stripped gender identity from the state's civil rights law, a proposal that opponents said could have subjected Queer Iowans to discrimination in education, housing, and public spaces.

They also suggested that removing such existing protections from a state's anti-discrimination law would have stood out in an already-historic period of anti-Trans laws in Republican-led statehouses. Those measures are part of a wave of laws recently passed in conservative states, which has led the Human Rights Campaign to declare a state of emergency for Queer Americans.

As written, the bill would have amended the civil rights law's definition of disability, a protected status, to exclude gender dysphoria or any another diagnosis related to a gender identity disorder.

Florida criminalizes changing gender on driver's licenses
Florida officials last week told driver's license offices to stop allowing residents to change their gender designation on state IDs. A letter sent out by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said it was rescinding a rule issued in May 2022 allowing people to alter their driver's licenses when they transition. The letter threatens legal consequences for those who seek a change in their gender on driver's licenses.

In response, on February 2, every Democratic member of the Florida congressional delegation signed onto a letter by US Rep. Maxwell Frost that called for the Biden administration to invoke the 2005 Real ID Act to support Transgender people by declaring the rule's revocation out of compliance.

Capitol Police close Gay sex case, find "no evidence" of a crime
The US Capitol Police have found no evidence of a crime in the case of a Senate staffer who allegedly taped himself having sex with another man in a congressional hearing room, and they have closed their investigation.

The video of two men having sex in a hearing room in the Hart Senate Office Building was posted online in December. The staffer, identified previously as Aidan Maese-Czeropski, worked for US Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland. He has been dismissed from his position.

The Capitol Police released this statement Thursday, "After consulting with federal and local prosecutors, as well as doing a comprehensive investigation and review of possible charges, it was determined that — despite a likely violation of Congressional policy — there is currently no evidence that a crime was committed."

Utah Gov. signs anti-Trans bathroom bill
Utah's contentious Transgender bathroom ban was officially signed into law by Republican Gov. Spencer Cox on January 30, just days after state lawmakers pushed the legislation through. HB 257 changes the state's legal definitions of "female" and "male," defining the terms based solely by one's reproductive organs. It defines a "women's bathroom" and "men's bathroom" as spaces exclusively designated for females and males, respectively.

Requiring Trans students to use a "privacy plan" created with their school, the bill includes also criminal penalties for people who use "changing rooms" that do not align with their biological sex in government-owned-and-run buildings, which include public schools, courthouses, libraries, recreation centers, airports, and some sporting arenas. It also criminalizes using restrooms "if the actor intentionally or knowingly remains unlawfully."