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Florida Joins Other States in Demanding Fairness for Female Athletes

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A Florida House committee recently passed a bill called the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. As originally reported by The Associated Press, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act:

“would require that anyone participating in girls and women’s sports at the K-12 and college level be biologically eligible to do so. If challenged, they would have to get confirmation from a health care provider that they are female. That could include a doctor examining their genitals.”

Florida is not alone. As a matter of fact, many other states have recently proposed laws banning transgender student-athletes from competing in the categories that they identify. For example, the North Dakota legislature passed a bill that would restrict competitors to biological gender categories. Other states have proposed similar laws, including Mississippi (“Mississippi Fairness Act”), Tennessee, and Utah. As reported by NPR:

This year, state legislators have introduced 35 bills restricting transgender girls and women — that is, girls and women who were not assigned as female at birth — from playing on girls’ and women’s sports teams, according to LGBTQ advocacy group Freedom for All Americans.

There are many compelling reasons to support such bills. For example, Republican Rep. Kaylee Tuck, who sponsored the Florida bill, stated, “The act is pro-women and pro-girls and only acknowledges the biological differences between men and women.” As reported in Breitbart, North Dakota Rep. Kathy Skroch was quoted as saying, “This is about girls competing with girls, ensuring equal opportunity and keeping a level playing field in girls’ sports.” Skroch further noted that the bill would assure “50 years of progress and protecting women against discrimination.”

There are many instances where female student-athletes have been unfairly forced to compete against biological boys/men who identified as girls/women. For example, Selina Soule, a track star at Bloomfield High School in Connecticut, “failed to qualify for regionals in the 55-meter run because two spots were taken by biological boys who identified as girls and who ran faster.” Tuck cited to another example involving Allyson Felix, the only woman to win six track and field gold medals in the Olympics. As reported by The Associated Press, citing Tuck:

“Allyson Felix is the fastest woman in the world… but yet the personal best in the 400 meters can be beaten by hundreds of high school boys. If we allow biological males to compete in athletic events against biological females, we may never see another Allyson Felix again.”

Additional examples can be found here, here, and here.

While there are many reasons to enact such bills, the enforceability/legality of such bills is still up in the air for several reasons. First, in January of this year, President Biden issued an executive order where he, in essence, threatened to “take federal education funds away from any state that refuses to allow transgender athletes to compete in whatever category they feel like choosing.”

Moreover, in Bostock v. Clayton County, the Supreme Court held that “Title VII’s prohibition against “sex discrimination” includes a prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.” In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, many schools that receive federal financial assistance were placed in a difficult position in light of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 which prohibits sex discrimination. The theory was that if “sex” under Title VII included sexual orientation and gender identity, the same definition could apply under Title IX. This specific issue has not yet been addressed/resolved by the Supreme Court.

Finally, the fate of the Equality Act, which recently passed the House of Representatives, has yet to be determined in the Senate. Given the current make-up of the Senate, passage of the bill is highly unlikely if Republicans mount a filibuster. The problem for Republicans is that Democrats could very well try to eliminate or reform the filibuster in order to pass this bill (Democrats will likely use the same tactic with respect to H.R. 1, the For the People Act). Assuming that Democrats do so (which would be very risky politically), the Equality Act could very well pass in the Senate and subsequently become law.

There is very little doubt that bills such as those in Florida and other states will face legal challenges. As reported by NPR, “The first state transgender sports law, passed in Idaho last year, was later blocked by a federal judge who argued, in part, that the state had ‘not identified a legitimate interest served by the Act.’”

Given the position of the current administration, Biden’s executive order, the Bostock decision, and the possible passage of the Equality Act (which Republicans and some Democrats will hopefully vote against in its current form), bills of this nature will ultimately face legal scrutiny. Time will tell whether or not they can survive such legal challenges.

Mr. Hakim is a political writer and commentator and an attorney.  His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, American Greatness, The Algemeiner, The Western Journal, American Thinker and other online publications. 

https://thoughtfullyconservative.wordpress.com

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Education

Scottsdale School District Retaliates Against Parents Over Curriculum Meeting

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Last week, a group of Scottsdale Unified School District Parents hosted a meeting to discuss the controversial new curriculum and to educate parents on what content to be on the lookout for. In response to this meeting the school district send a cease and desist order over the use of “SUSD”.  Parents are shocked Scottsdale Unified School District administration would waste resources over such a simple matter.  One parent involved Amy Carney had the follow reaction “This time the school board has crossed a new threshold and must be held accountable for abusing their power to intimidate parents through legal action. Parents were sent a cease and desist letter for using the Scottsdale Unified School District initials to describe our recent event and for using “SUSD” as a part of a group of concerned parents in the districts’ social media name.”

Unfortunately, this situation is playing out across the country as parents continue to ask questions about their children’s education.

 

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 Full statement and Letter

STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO SCOTTSDALE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT’S LETTER SENT TO PARENTS TO CEASE AND DESIST USE OF SCHOOL DISTRICT’S INITIALS TO ORGANIZE NON DISTRICT APPROVED EVENTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Scottsdale, Arizona—Scottsdale Unified School Board President, Jann Michael Greenburg, approved using taxpayer’s dollars to target and harass Scottsdale public school district parents for hosting an information night on July 28 for community members and parents.
Scottsdale mom of six, Amy Carney, co-organizer of the event, says, “We hosted this event because parents need to know what to expect when sending their kids back to school. The district is not transparent or truthful with parents so we hosted the event to share what we’ve learned and give parents the tools and information to take action this upcoming school year. The board President is now retaliating against us parents for circumventing their ability to control the conversation.”

Since August, 2020 parents have held the district and board accountable for gaslighting families on everything from school closures, to mask mandates and curriculum. On record, the board President has tried to intimidate theseoutspoken parents into silence by harassing them on social media and canceling their voices at school board meetings. Carney says, “This time the school board has crossed a new threshold and must be held accountable for abusing
their power to intimidate parents through legal action. Parents were sent a cease and desist letter for using the Scottsdale Unified School District initials to describe our recent event and for using “SUSD” as a part of a group of concerned parents in the districts’ social media name.

Unknown to the group, the board trademarked the initials in October of 2020 and is now selectively choosing who can and cannot use the Scottsdale Unified School District initials. The district’s attorney gave the unofficial Facebook group of moms and dads (formerly known as SUSD-CAN) until Friday afternoon to change the group’s name which is now the Scottsdale Unified CAN (Community Advocacy Network). Co-admin of the Facebook group (formerly known as SUSD-CAN) Trish Olson says, “Why didn’t they just ask us directly to change the name? We’ve met with Scottsdale Superintendent Dr. Scott Menzel monthly, as recently as
July 8. If they wanted to keep lines of communication open with parents, why get lawyers involved?”

Scottsdale parent and Co-organizer of the event, Amanda Wray, raised awareness in the community last week when SUSD sent a controversial form by “mistake” asking parents for consent to have their child surveyed with questions about medical and mental health history and gun and ammunition ownership in the home. The district replaced the
consent form and issued a statement of retraction. Wray says, “Unfortunately, this just looks and feels like retaliation for scrutinizing the district over the repeated missteps and lack of transparency with parents. Our mission and efforts will not be diluted or discouraged by such trivial and punitive actions against our group. We encourage all parents in public schools to get involved in their child’s education and ask questions when things don’t seem right.”

 

SUSDGUSTLAWLETTER

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Sowing the Wind and Reaping the Whirlwind: California and its Epic Wildfires

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California
Photo credit: Patrick Luscri

Like the 2018 Camp Fire, California’s Dixie Fire is epic. It has burned more than 220,000 acres and at least 40 structures. It’s the largest conflagration since the Camp Fire that destroyed Paradise. Sadly, California wildfires are becoming as common as Florida hurricanes. Why is this happening and who’s to blame? In a word, California.

By mismanaging its forests and water sources and enabling a power provider to place profits over people, the Golden State has sown the wind and is reaping the whirlwind.

Why is every California fire season scarier and more destructive than the last? The reasons can be boiled down to these:

  1. Decades of forest mismanagement caused by environmentalists shaping policy
  2. Co-opted Northern California watersheds and water supply diversion
  3. Hotter temperatures and historic drought conditions caused by climate change
  4. Failing PG&E infrastructure
Forest mismanagement

We live five miles from the southeastern edge of the Dixie Fire. Our little mountain town of Quincy is under an evacuation warning. Many of our fellow residents live in areas of mandatory evacuation and some have lost their homes. Local firefighters and forest experts have known for years this was inevitable.

It’s common sense, really. When forest undergrowth and dead limbs and logs are allowed to pile up between trees, you may as well stack logs at their bases and light a match. Wise forest managers remove forest floor fuels and keep forests from growing dangerously dense.

Foolish forest managers allow undergrowth to flourish in order to “protect” ecological environments of certain species at the expense of overall forest ecology. This hands-off approach is pushed in Sacramento by those who think we’re only one species sharing our environment rather than caretakers of our environment.

Wise gardeners prevent weeds from diverting moisture from produce plants by removing them. This ensures a healthy garden. Why wouldn’t smart forest management include removal of undergrowth and dead or dying trees?

Water diversion

A few years ago, state biologists “gill-netted” vast quantities of fish in our local Silver Lake in order to prevent them from feeding on a certain frog. This decimated the fish population in favor of the frog population. How is this an ecological balance?

Similarly, allowing natural water sources to feed rivers and streams provides better hydration for trees—and raises critical moisture levels for forests. Diverting water from Northern California sources when levels are low exacerbates the deadly dryness of moisture-starved Sierra forests. Shouldn’t there be a better balance based on water levels?

As climate change continues to affect moisture and heat, smart and balanced water management becomes more critical. Yet California continues to base policy decisions reactively rather than proactively. If Northern California watershed areas burn for lack of moisture, poor water management will be partially to blame.

So will California’s reliance on hydroelectric power over traditional (and more effective) fossil-fuel plants. The state gets nearly 2/3 of its power from non-fossil fuel production, which is why it has to buy electricity from states like Oregon, Arizona and others.

Failing PG&E

Failed PG&E power lines are responsible for devastating California wildfires for the last five fire seasons. According to PG&E’s initial report the day the Dixie Fire started, an employee responding to an outage noticed a blown fuse at Cresta Dam in a heavily forested area of Butte County around the Feather River Canyon. He found two blown fuses and a tree leaning on a power conductor. He also found a fire on the ground near the base of the tree.

When the 2018 Camp Fire erupted, a PG&E employee noticed flames caused by a faulty transmission line in Feather River Canyon. Many of these lines are supported by electrical towers from the early 1900s. PG&E customers pay modern rates for modern electricity delivered via century-old towers.

In fairness, PG&E is finally taking steps to modernize its infrastructure with underground line burial and other measures. Sadly, these measures are long overdue and are too little too late for victims of the Camp Fire and now for those dealing with the Dixie Fire. Worse, PG&E seems to be continuing their foot-dragging regarding reporting system failures when they point to a wildfire start.

Closed market

According to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), PG&E ignored regulations that require it to report wildfire-related infrastructure failures within two hours of the event. PG&E took five days to report the Dixie Fire-related failure to CPUC. As a state agency, CPUC answers to Governor Gavin Newsom and Sacramento politicians. PG&E is supposed to answer to CPUC, yet is still failing to follow the rules.

Not only is there a lack of meaningful accountability, the relationship between California and PG&E is dysfunctional. The average citizen wonders why Sacramento continues enabling a repeat offender of a power company. Another question is why California refuses to open up its utility market to competitors in order to force PG&E to modernize its infrastructure.

Something has to change or California will continue to burn every fire season. Close to home, people in our community love living in Northern California, but the Golden State will lose even more citizens if residents have to flee the flames every summer.

 

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