A committee will hold a hearing next Monday over a Republican-sponsored “parent’s bill of rights” resolution seeking to amend the state Constitution through a 2024 ballot measure that advocates warn would harm LGBTQ+ children.
House Resolution 23-1004, titled “Fundamental Rights For Parents,” would ask Colorado voters to approve a wide-ranging measure granting parents more explicit rights relating to the education and care of their children, including oversight over school records, control over medical decisions, and consent in writing for any sort of medical procedure.
The proposed amendment’s primary focus is on education, where it would require a district’s board of education to craft policy that would allow for parent participation in school and objection to specific areas of curriculum taught in classes on the basis of it violating a parents’ personal belief in sex, morality or religion.
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Rep. Brandi Bradley, a Littleton Republican who is the sole sponsor for the bill, has posted messages on Facebook asking supporters to sign up to testify, arguing that parents should have more oversight in protecting children.
“It’s their God-given role,” Bradley said in one post.
The bill has been met with opposition from LGBTQ rights groups like One Colorado, which argues that the bill is seeking to control what children can learn and how they choose to identify.
“This resolution is an overstep that will restrict the rights of young people and suppress information if it does not fit within a narrow view of the world,” Gillian Ford, communication director of One Colorado, said in a statement. “Our country is facing a mental health crisis and young people, especially LGBTQ+ young people, need support and access to resources more than ever. HCR23-1004 would cause irreparable harm by amending the Colorado constitution to favor censorship and invasion of privacy over basic rights.”
The Fundamental Rights For Parents bill resembles similar legislation from GOP lawmakers in other states targeting childhood education in an attempt to limit certain rhetoric and policies in school curricula. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Parents Bill of Rights, which in addition to allowing parents to review curriculum, would allow them to inspect books and other library materials. With Democrats still in control of the U.S. Senate, the bill is unlikely to pass.
While Bradley’s measure is largely identical to bills in other states targeting education, the Fundamental Rights for Parents bill also focuses on a parent’s ability to decide on health care for children. While not explicitly targeting transgender students like other bills this session, the proposed legislation would require a parent’s written or verbal consent for the “performance of surgical procedure upon a minor child.”
As a legislatively referred constitutional amendment, the bill would need to pass the House and Senate, where it would then be approved by a 55% majority of voters in the 2024 general election. With the State, Civic, Military Affairs Committee known loosely by Capitol insiders as a “kill” committee, holding the hearing, the bill has virtually no chance of being approved.
The hearing and testimony for the Fundamental Rights of Parents bill is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. Monday.
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