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GOP lawmakers are looking "Punitive consequences" For Montana’s transgender lawmaker

A transgender state House member from Montana who was abstinence His Republican colleagues announced late Tuesday that he would be the subject of a disciplinary vote on Wednesday from debate on a bill on the House floor that would ban gender-confirming care for minors.

State Rep. Zooey Zephyr posted on her Twitter account a letter she reportedly received from GOP House leaders Tuesday night that said a resolution would be brought up on the House floor Wednesday afternoon to determine whether Zephyr’s “actions” are necessary for her to hold a meeting Monday. “Disciplinary Consequences.”

The House floor on Monday will ask the House to determine whether Zephyr’s “conduct” “violated the rules, collective rights, safety, dignity, integrity or decorum of the House,” the letter said.

Zephyr tweeted that he could either be censured or expelled and that he would be given a “chance to speak”.

It followed an interview with CBS News earlier Tuesday evening in which Zephyr said he saw similarities between his treatment by fellow lawmakers and that of the “Tennessee Three.”

“There’s no doubt there’s a connection,” state Rep. Zooey Zephyr, who speaks from Helena, told CBS News comparing her situation. That’s Tennessee Earlier this month, three Tennessee state lawmakers who participated in a gun violence protest in the House chamber — in the wake of The Nashville School Massacre – was expelled by a vote. The two have since been rehired.

“I think what we’re seeing is when marginalized communities, the communities that are most affected by the law, stand up and talk about the harm, I’m talking about trans issues, whether young black men are talking about gun violence. People in power. , especially on the right, don’t want to be held accountable for the real harm these bills bring.”

Silent transgender lawmaker Joey Zephyr

Montana Democratic Rep. Joey Zeffir waves a microphone in the air on April 24, 2023, as his supporters chant “Let him speak!” Interrupted proceedings in the state house with slogans. in Helena, Montana.

Amy Beth Hanson/AP

The 34-year-old Democrat has not been allowed to speak on the state House floor since he announced on April 18 that lawmakers who voted for a ban on gender-affirming care would have “blood on your hands.”

Republican state House Speaker Matt Regier refused to allow Zephyr to speak unless he apologized for his comments, which Zephyr indicated Tuesday he would not do.

“If I were to do it again, I would stand by what I said, because I can see again the damage that these bills bring,” he told CBS News.

On Monday seven was arrested Riot police protested in the House chamber in support of Zephyr, demanding he be allowed to speak, while dozens more rallied on the steps of the state Capitol.

Regier called the arrest “a dark day for Montana” at a brief news conference Tuesday. before cancellation Tuesday afternoon session of the House, but for no reason.

“The headlines that happened last week, that the Montana House leadership or the GOP silenced anyone, are false,” Regier claimed. “Currently, all representatives are free to participate in House debate while following House rules. The choice not to follow House rules is Rep. Zephyr. The only person who has silenced Rep. Zephyr is Rep. Zephyr. The Montana House cannot be bullied. All 100 people The representative will be treated similarly.”

Zephyr on Tuesday challenged Regier’s allegations that he broke decorum with his earlier comments.

“We elected to have difficult conversations,” he told CBS News. “And we had people on the other side who screamed at their termination, we had people who implied that my very existence somehow sexualized children. And we objected. And then we moved on. Because that’s what we elected representatives to do. Bill’s Speak up.”

State Senate Bill 99 was initially passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature late last month, but Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte sent it back to the Legislature with some proposed changes. Those changes were approved by both chambers last week and the bill has been returned to Gianforte’s desk for his signature.

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