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Tennessee Governor Bill Lee painted the state as a leader in the nation and highlighted the work still ahead during his second inaugural speech held in Nashville on Saturday.

Lee lauded the state’s accomplishments, including Tennessee’s status as the “lowest tax rate per capita in the nation, the lowest debt rate per capita in the nation, and the fastest growing economy of all 50 states.

“We have set an example for America of how to serve,” Lee said during his remarks, adding, “the halfway point of any endeavor is a good time to reflect, but it’s an even better time to plan – to focus on the work still ahead.”

The governor highlighted five specific areas he intends to focus on during his second term as Governor – transportation, energy, natural resource conservation, environment preservation, and protecting children in the state’s foster care and through the adoption process.

Lee said, “We need a transportation strategy and an energy strategy designed for one of the fastest growing states in America. We need to enhance efforts to conserve our natural resources and preserve the environment of what I believe is the most beautiful place in the world. We need to protect children in our custody and in our state with a better foster care and adoption process.”

“We need to do these things and many more, but we can never abandon the standard of fiscal responsibility that makes our success possible,” Lee added.

“It is the highest honor that I have to serve the people of Tennessee as Governor, and I thank them for the opportunity that they have given me to do so. May the Lord pour his continued favor upon, and richly bless the people of the great State of Tennessee,” Lee concluded.

Lee has already discussed his plan to tackle one of the five topics he mentioned in his speech. Earlier this month, Lee unveiled his Transportation Modernization Act of 2023 in an effort to address transportation needs across the state, as previously reported by The Tennessee Star.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.


News Source: tennesseestar.com

Tags: bill lee energy tennessee governor second term dcs transportation modernization act of 2023 inaugural speech environment preservation the state’s the fastest growing the tennessee star during his second adoption process a in the nation foster care the people tennessee as governor children to focus

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Utah Just Became the First State of 2023 to Ban Gender-Affirming Care

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Kennedy, second from left, sponsored legislation banning gender-affirming careRick Bowmer/AP

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On Saturday, Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox signed legislation banning gender-affirming surgeries for transgender youth and placing an indefinite moratorium on hormone treatment for minors who haven’t yet been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

While Utah is the first state of 2023 to limit gender-affirming care, it is not likely the last: A barrage of state bills brought by Republican lawmakers this year seeks to control the lives of transgender children. More than 150 such bills are being considered in at least 25 states, according to the New York Times, including proposals to ban transitional health care, restrict drag shows, and prevent teachers from using the names and pronouns that match the gender identities of their students.

Some of the bills, which are backed by longtime GOP operatives and Christian nationalist groups, have nearly identical language, suggesting a common template. Those organizing the legislative push include the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Policy Alliance, the American Principles Project, and the Heritage Foundation.

“This is a political winner,” said Terry Schilling, president of the American Principles Project, a conservative think tank, according to the Times. Schilling argued that more midterm voters might have come out had Republicans not “shied away” from the issue.

Last year, Gov. Cox made headlines when he vetoed a bill that would have limited the participation of transgender kids in school sports. But in a statement about the recent legislation, he argued for pausing “permanent and life-altering treatments.” He added, “While we understand our words will be of little comfort to those who disagree with us, we sincerely hope that we can treat our transgender families with more love and respect as we work to better understand the science and consequences behind these procedures.”

Major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychiatric Association, agree that gender-affirming care is key to improving health outcomes for transgender individuals, especially youth. Such care is associated with dramatically reduced rates of suicide, depression and anxiety, and substance use.

In a letter on Friday, the ACLU of Utah urged Cox to veto the bill. “By cutting off medical treatment supported by every major medical association in the United States, the bill compromises the health and well-being of adolescents with gender dysphoria,” it read. “It ties the hands of doctors and parents by restricting access to the only evidence-based treatment available for this serious medical condition and impedes their ability to fulfill their professional obligations.”

Sen. Mike Kennedy, the Republican lawmaker and family physician who sponsored the bill, expects the legislation to be litigated. “I’m afraid that I’m going to be working on this for the rest of my political life,” he said on the state Senate floor.

A legal review by Utah’s state legislature, obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune, suggested that the legislation could be deemed unconstitutional if brought before a federal court. 

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