(Idaho Governor’s Office Press Release, August 9, 2022)
Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little and 14 other governors recently sent a letter to President Joe Biden expressing their disagreement with proposals from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Education that may require institutions receiving federal funding to allow biological males to access women and girls’ locker rooms, bathrooms, and dorms.
In their letter, the governors outline their problem with how the proposed update and rule reimagines the intended purpose of Title IX by impacting its interpretations with the federal government’s National School Lunch Program and by amending it to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.
“To be clear, your Administration would take lunch money away from our kids and grandkids in pursuit of a radical agenda that has no basis in science and is not supported by the vast majority of the American people,” the Governors’ letter says.
“(The) proposed rule change would have far-reaching implications across K-12 and collegiate institutions. By expanding Title IX to include gender identity and sexual orientation, your Administration puts girls and women of all ages at risk. The DOEd rule would force any institution that receives federal financial aid to allow biological males to access women’s and girls’ locker rooms, bathrooms, and dorms, depriving them of privacy and safety at school. The rule ensures that a far-left ideology on gender will be taught in schools nationwide. And finally…the policy changes your Administration has already put forward leave us with no doubt that the Department intends to eliminate fairness in girls’ sports, too,” the Governors also wrote.
In addition to its threats to Title IX, the letter highlights the USDA’s concerning attempts to avoid proper procedures to notify the public of changes to the existing rule.The governors also express concern these proposals are just a first step before the Biden Administration changes federal regulations related to Title IX’s application to athletic competition. If the Biden Administration chooses to ignore the highlighted concerns and follow through with these reinterpretations of Title IX, the governors make clear they will pursue any avenues necessary to fight these regulations. Signatories to the letter include: Governors Brad Little (ID), Kristi Noem (SD), Doug Ducey (AZ), Asa Hutchinson (AR), Brian Kemp (GA), Kim Reynolds (IA), Tate Reeves (MS), Mike Parson (MO), Greg Gianforte (MT), Pete Ricketts (NE), Kevin Stitt (OK), Henry McMaster (SC), Bill Lee (TN), Glenn Youngkin (VA), and Mark Gordon (WY).
Portions of the letter are included below: “We write to you on behalf of the girls, women, and children in our states who will be impacted by the U.S. Department of Education’s (DOEd) and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed rule and policy changes with regard to the interpretation of Title IX. “Through both departments, your Administration proposed changes that misunderstand the purpose of Title IX, which was to prevent discrimination ‘on the basis of sex’ in education programs, including activities such as athletic competitions. At the time of its passage 50 years ago, Title IX was intended to provide equal opportunity for biological females in the classroom and on the playing field. It created an avenue for so many young American girls to compete and achieve, experience the thrill of victory and learn the lessons of defeat, and open the door to scholarships and other paths towards greater opportunity. … “First, your USDA announced a purported ‘policy update’ that now requires state and local agencies, program operators, and sponsors that receive funds from USDA for Food and Nutrition Services to investigate allegations of discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. This change will have drastic impacts on the interpretation of Title IX for the purposes of the federal government’s National School Lunch Program as well as other programs administered by the USDA under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. … “The USDA’s policy update was also announced in a manner that ignores the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Under the APA, the public must be given notice and afforded the opportunity to comment when a government agency makes substantive new rules or policies or makes substantive changes to existing rules and policies. Though the USDA attempted to avoid this requirement by labeling its change as ‘guidance,’ and subsequently hiding the change in an old proposed regulation recycled to avoid the APA, this rule change would have far-reaching impacts on students in many states across the country. “Meanwhile, DOEd’s proposed rule change would have far-reaching implications across K-12 and collegiate institutions. By expanding Title IX to include gender identity and sexual orientation, your Administration puts girls and women of all ages at risk. The DOEd rule would force any institution that receives federal financial aid to allow biological males to access women’s and girls’ locker rooms, bathrooms, and dorms, depriving them of privacy and safety at school. The rule ensures that a far-left ideology on gender will be taught in schools nationwide. And finally, while DOEd states that it ‘will engage in a separate rulemaking to address Title IX’s application to athletics,’ the policy changes your Administration has already put forward leave us with no doubt that the Department intends to eliminate fairness in girls’ sports, too. … “If your Administration chooses to move forward with these reinterpretations of Title IX, Bostock, and basic human biology, our states will have no choice but to pursue avenues to redress any harm that is done to our children as a result. We trust that you will give attention to the concerns we have outlined and look forward to an expedient resolution that will keep food in the mouths of our children and fairness on the playing field.”