Bill that cleared Senate committee Thursday ‘ill advised,’ ‘wrong-headed,’ local leaders say

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

More by....

Karen Berg recently lost her son to suicide.

The Republican senator from Louisville spoke Thursday about how dangerous a bill aimed at preventing drag shows in public could be for people like her son.

“I can tell you from my personal experience of the day I buried my child here in Kentucky, my proud trans child, the last thing he did at work before he went home and killed himself was to send out a press release to the country from the Human Rights Campaign warning us of what was coming,” Berg said.

The bill cleared a Senate Committee Thursday after an overhaul from its original version that targeted all drag performances and the businesses that hosted them.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Lindsey Tichenor (R-Smithfield), introduced a new version of the bill at the beginning of the testimony that saw it drastically change from its original version.

The bill’s first version focused on banning drag shows — and other so-called explicit performances — from taking place within 1,000 feet of residences, parks, schools, and other locations. The new version focuses on banning performers from public performances where kids could be present — such as libraries and public parks.

Local leaders have also weighed in on their opposition to the bill.

Covington City officials said in mid-February that they were unhappy about this legislation, which they say would have an impact on NKY Pride and would have an effect on “Drag Bingo” at the Covington Yard.

“I can’t begin to describe how wrong-headed and ill-advised this legislation is and how much of an overreach it is,” said Covington Mayor Joe Meyer. “The courts have consistently restricted the government’s authority to regulate expression such as this.”

More news:  Firefighters rescue 2 people from burning home in Covington

Kate Miller from the ACLU said she was happy with the changes, but said the bill still puts the performers at risk, as they could potentially face misdemeanors and felonies.

“I think our concern remains that this will include some censorship from the government that is not in compliance with our First Amendment-protected rights,” Miller said.

Opponents of the bill also focused on the potential harm the legislation could do to the state’s economy.

“Young professionals who are not part of the LGBTQ community are looking to be in inclusive places,” said Covington resident Dr. Bonnie Myers. “Do we want to retain and keep talent and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, or do we want to run all of these talented individuals outside of Kentucky?”

But the bill is not anti-LGBTQ, said Tichenor, who presented with David Walls, executive director of Christian lobbying foundation Kentucky Family Foundation — it is pro-children.

“For some reason, people want this type of content in front of children, and I would dare ask ‘Why, why do we need to sexualize our children,'” Tichenor said to the Senate Veterans Military, Public Affairs, and Public Protection Committee.

“Is it appropriate for a child to watch a man imitating anal sex with another man on stage? Is that appropriate?” Tichenor questioned while showing pictures from a performance of A Drag Queen Christmas — a traveling show that requires tickets to be purchased.

The show didn’t come to Kentucky.

“The hate you give is the hate you get,” Berg said before the committee chair Sen. Russell Webber (R-Shepherdsivlle), requested Berg stop her testimony.

More news:  Board of Ed closer to decision on Covington school consolidation

Speaking after the meeting, Sen. Gex Wiliams (R-Verona), who co-sponsored the bill and sat on the committee, said the new bill focuses on children.

“I think if you look at this bill, you see it’s for the love of children,” Williams said.

Further, he said the committee was concerned with rising suicide rates, including Sen. Berg’s son, over what he deemed to be issues with transgender people taking drugs to change their biological sex.

“When you introduce drugs, and you try to fight 30 or 40 trillion cells in your body, using drugs, the outcome is not going to be good,” Williams said.

More articles

More by...

Latest articles

In Case You Missed It