The Georgia Senate passed legislation Tuesday crammed with multiple “culture wars” provisions affecting Georgia schools.

House Bill 1104, which the Senate’s Republican majority passed 33-21 along party lines, originated in the House as a measure addressing mental-health risks for student athletes. But Senate Republicans added a host of controversial provisions aimed at sex education, transgender students, and library books.

As reconstituted, the bill would prohibit sex education in Georgia schools before the sixth grade and require schools to notify parents of which books their children are checking out from school libraries.

It also would require students to use bathrooms that match the gender identify on their birth certificates and prohibit transgender male students from participating in girls’ sports.

“It protects children and empowers parents,” Sen. Clint Dixon, R-Buford, who carried the bill in the Senate, told his colleagues before Tuesday’s vote.

Dixon said the few years of innocence children enjoy while in elementary school should be protected from sex education instruction. He also argued female athletes should have a right to participate in school sports without having to compete against faster, stronger transgender males.

Democrats complained not only about the provisions themselves but the process Republicans used to load them into a single bill.

“This Frankenstein bill cobbled together some of most draconian and backwards thinking,” said Sen. Nabilah Islam Parkes, D-Duluth.

Parkes said bills targeting LGBTQ students in other states have led to an increase in hate crimes.

“It’s targeting a handful of kids in this entire state because they’re different than us,” added Sen. Josh McLaurin, D-Sandy Springs, referring to the transgender sports provision.

Because of the changes made by the Senate, the bill must now return to the House before it can gain final passage.

This story comes to Rough Draft via a media partnership with Capitol Beat.



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