House allows for new version of failed bill to be heard


    A transwoman at a LGBTQ rally (Photo by Getty Images).

    The House Rules Committee decided on a party-line vote Tuesday that a bill aiming to limit the type of medical care transgender youth can receive will be allowed to continue through the legislative process despite a nearly identical bill failing earlier in the session.

    House Minority leader Kim Abbott, D-Helena, objected to the first reading of House Bill 427, which would bar medical providers from providing specific health care to trans youth.

    Abbott said HB427 violated a rule that prohibits the legislature from re-litigating failed bills. Responding to Abbott’s rejection, House Leader Wylie Galt, R-Martinsdale, delegated the issue to be sorted out in the House Rules Committee.

    Both bills are dubbed the “Youth Health Protection Act” and are sponsored by Whitefish Republican Rep. John Fuller. On Monday, Fuller said he had not yet read the final draft HB427.

    Republicans on the committee said it committee can override the rule that sparked Abbott’s objection and allow HB427 to be referred to a committee for a hearing. Rep. Barry Usher, R-Billings, said the bill should be allowed because it removes concerns that opponents brought up during testimony on HB113.

    Democrats argued that what HB427 aims to do could have been achieved through an amendment during the hearing process of HB113, and allowing HB427 to continue would be a waste of time and resources.

    “The reason I objected is to avoid re-litigating bills that have had good hearings, a good debate, and votes and have reached a final disposal,” Abbott said during the House Rules Committee hearing Tuesday. “From my perspective, these are clearly designed to accomplish the same purpose, and it’s the reason the rule exists is to not have to relitigate things that have been disposed of.”