Politics

Gov. Matt Bevin said during a review of his first year in office that he won’t support a transgender bathroom bill that would require public school students to use bathrooms that correspond with their biological sex, calling it “silly.”

A similar bill has drawn controversy in North Carolina.

“The last thing we need is more government rules,” Bevin said during a year-end review news conference in Louisville. “I’m cutting red tape, not creating it. Making government rules for things that don’t even need government rules would be silly.”

Bevin said that the legislature should pursue other Republican priorities like “right-to-work” legislation, repealing the prevailing wage and charter schools.

The governor’s position conflicts with some conservatives in the state. The Republican-led state Senate has passed a transgender bathroom bill in recent years, though the measure hasn’t been taken up by the House, which used to be controlled by Democrats.

Now that Republicans have supermajorities in both legislative chambers, conservatives have considered proposing the bill again.

London Republican Sen. Al Robertson, who has proposed and co-sponsored transgender bathroom bills in recent sessions, said last month that he would propose the legislation again in the upcoming General Assembly.

“There’s more people that are backing down when they should not be backing down for the sake of the threats and the financial threats,” Robinson said during an interview last month. “And to me there’s some price that’s just not worth paying.”

In North Carolina, some businesses have scaled back investments and moved events out of the state after the transgender bathroom law took effect earlier this year.

Bevin has joined a lawsuit against the federal government’s transgender bathroom guidelines, which required public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choosing. The rule has been blocked by a federal court in Texas, though the case is on appeal.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.