VIDEO: Revealing Floor Debate (Or Lack Thereof) on the Harms of House Bill 300

May 5, 2023 | 0 comments

Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta’s House Bill 300 would make significant changes to Pennsylvania state law that would impact everyone, particularly in areas of religious freedom and privacy rights. Democrat leaders rushed this bill through the process in the PA House of Representatives, going from its introduction to being amended twice, passing by a narrow margin and sent to the PA Senate, all in just two weeks time.

When a bill reaches the floor for a final vote, the prime sponsor of the bill typically speaks at the beginning and end of debate to advocate for passage of their bill.Yet Rep. Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) not only did not give any opening or closing remarks, but only spoke for a total of just ten seconds on the House floor during debate on his own bill. 

This begs one question: Why?

Is it because other sponsors of the bill had previously stated the truth about the impact of HB 300, including doctors being forced to perform “gender reassignment” surgeries and women’s shelters being forced to house men? These statements sparked national attention. Here’s Rep. Emily Kinkead (D-Pittsburgh) in committee on HB300:

Were the makers of the bill afraid to have anyone say anything that would reveal more on the true harmful impacts of the bill? Perhaps.

Whatever the reason, the House Democrats chose to stay mostly silent about one of their priority bills for this session. They provided no evidence to disprove the concerns brought by those opposed to the bill.

In stark contrast, the many state lawmakers who were opposed to House Bill 300 stood up and spoke the truth on exactly why there are many harms with this policy proposal. Here’s just some of this debate:

House Bill 300 would invite men into women’s spaces. 

A host of women’s spaces would be impacted by House Bill 300, including shelters and sports, as the bill would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” as protected classes to the PA Human Relations Act that covers an all-encompassing definition of public accommodations, which includes kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, high schools, academies, colleges and universities.

Rep. Craig Williams (R-Delaware/Chester) has a daughter who is passionate about playing soccer. Rep. Williams outlined how House Bill 300 will allow men to play in his daughter’s sport. Just listening to his passionate speech on behalf of his daughter and other young women in Pennsylvania speaks volumes.

Rep. Barb Gleim (R-Cumberland), the prime sponsor of the Protect Women’s Sports Act, shared how House Bill 300 would particularly impact women and Title IX protections.

House Bill 300 would infringe upon religious freedom.

State lawmakers like Rep. John Lawrence (R-Chester) pointed to the particular lines in the bill that would change the definition of religious organizations under state law, permanently altering religious freedom in Pennsylvania.

Rep. Donna Scheuren (R-Montgomery) highlights how this new law would give cause for action to sue religious schools and ministries. “By changing the definition of employer in the PA Human Relations Act, this bill targets religious employers, treating their hiring decisions as discriminatory simply for wanting to hire employees that agree with their religious philosophy.”

House Bill 300 would force doctors and hospitals to perform “gender reassignment” surgeries.

In other states, laws with language mirroring House Bill 300 have been used to force hospitals to perform “gender reassignment” surgeries.

Rep. Paul Schemel (R-Franklin) pointed out this concern. “Because hospitals and physician practices are places of public accommodation this legislation opens them to liability for the very reason that they are good, conscientious, caring providers. House Bill 300 would force these caring and conscientious providers to violate what they would consider to be the tenets of their hippocratic oath.”

There is no doubt if House Bill 300 becomes law it would have negative consequences for many good Pennsylvanians and ministries. House Bill 300 passed by a narrow 102-98 vote. One Democrat, Rep. Frank Burns (D-Cambria), joined all but two of the Republicans in opposition to this harmful bill. It is now in the Senate State Government Committee.

Pennsylvania should be a place where we protect everyone and celebrate religious freedom, not suppress it with policies like House Bill 300.