- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2016

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Republican lawmakers have vowed to voice opposition to transgender school bathrooms upon reconvening next week.

The issue gained attention after the Obama administration’s recent guidance that transgender students at public schools be allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

Rep. John Whitmer, a Wichita Republican, said he and other conservative lawmakers want to express their displeasure through a resolution, The Wichita Eagle (https://bit.ly/25i0SnJ) reports. Bathroom bill supporters said it’s probably too late to do more than a resolution because the only legislative day remaining on the calendar is June 1, the “sine die” day that ordinarily marks the ceremonial end of the legislative year.

While schools wouldn’t be legally bound to follow a resolution with action, “this is at least what we can do in the short term.” Whitmer said.

But Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, said that other than helping lawmakers to “run for re-election and raise extra money,” he didn’t think a bathroom resolution would “have any effect at all.” Similarly, Thomas Witt, executive director of LGBT-rights group Equality Kansas, said all a resolution would do is “single out children who are already victims” in school because they’re different.

Lawmakers took up the transgender bathroom issue earlier this session, but the bill stalled in committee. The measure would have required transgender students to use the facilities corresponding to the sex determined by their chromosome makeup as recorded on their birth certificate.

Many lawmakers said they were troubled by language that would have allowed students to sue their school for $2,500 if they encountered a transgendered classmate in the “wrong” restroom or locker room.

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, led the charge for the original bathroom bill and was glad to see the concept might be brought back at sine die. She said the Legislature needs to give parents some certainty about what their children might expect at school and “at least let Kansas citizens know where we stand on the issue.”

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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