DENVER – Allies of the LGBTQ community in the Colorado Legislature are trying to remove a stumbling block for individuals in the process of changing their gender identity.
House Bill 122 led to debate Tuesday in the state House on the equity of current laws governing changing gender designation on birth certificates. The measure was adopted on second reading
The bill would speed or eliminate the need for individuals to prove they had undergone a surgical procedure and go before a public court and explain why they were seeking their gender change.
The argument against the bill centers around a disagreement of what the designation of gender on a birth certificate should represent.
Rep. Hugh McKean, R-Loveland, said he uses birth certificates as a way of verifying identities in volunteer work he does with the Coast Guard.
“In my world the birth certificate is sacrosanct. It does not mean this is who you are today; it means that this is who you were the exact day you were born,” he said.
But several Democrats disagreed, and said the bill is a chance for Colorado to continue to move forward in its support of all people.
“This is an issue that is important to Coloradans,” said bill sponsor Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo,. “This is simply changing a gender marker on their birth certificate, but for thousands of Coloradans this is one more way to protect their identity and protect their privacy.”
Similar bills passed the House the past two years only to die in the Republican-held state Senate.
In other action: Four bills receive third reading, 14 second reading and 24 were heard by committee.
HB 1174 would allow rural communities whose population is less than 50,000 an exception from current law restricting local governments from creating broadband infrastructure unless they have contracted with a telecommunications company. It was also adopted upon second reading.
Included in the bills that passed third reading was Senate Bill 61, which would require school districts to equally allocate funding on a per-pupil basis to all schools in the district, including charter schools.
SB 61 passed on a 22-13 vote with only one Republican, Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, voting against the measure. The bill now heads to the House for ca ommittee assignment.
SB 40, which would require government entities to provide electronic versions of documents request through Colorado Open Records Act request except in certain circumstance, and SB 116, which would remove the requirement for lawful gun owners to acquire permits to carry concealed firearms, were included in the bills heard Tuesday in committee.
SB 40 has drawn controversy because of concerns documents requested under open recoreds could be used in “terrorist plots.” However, the bill does not change what documents can be accessed, just the format they must be provided.
The bill passed 4-3 with Sen. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, siding with Democrats on the committee to move the bill to the floor. Still, concerns surrounding an amendment that would expand the measure to the judiciary and places its future in question.
SB 116 was also passed 4-3 along party lines, with Republicans seeking to expand Second Amendment rights.
Both SB 40 and SB 116 were heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee, and now head to the Senate floor.
Also, the Senate confirmed the third and final appointee to Fort Lewis College’s Board of Trustees, Dianne Pacheco-Van Voorhees, a lawyer from Arvada.