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Montana Trans Lawmaker Facing Possible Expulsion After ‘Hate-Filled’ Testimony



Fox News: A transgender lawmaker in Montana is facing a vote of expulsion or censure on Wednesday after Republican lawmakers accused her of presenting “hate-filled testimony” while debating a bill that would ban transgender medical care for minors.

While delivering comments on the bill last week, Democrat State Rep. Zooey Zephyr sent a strong message for those who voted for the bill banning transgender medical care for minors.

“The only thing I will say, is if you vote yes on this bill and yes on these amendments, I hope the next time there’s an invocation when you bow your heads in prayer, you see the blood on your hands,” Zephyr said.

Afterward, Republican Speaker Matt Regier refused to acknowledge Zephyr who wanted to speak on a separate bill aiming to put a binary definition of male and female into the state code.

“It is up to me to maintain decorum here on the House floor, to protect the dignity and integrity,” Regier said. “And any representative that I don’t feel can do that will not be recognized.”

Regier said that the decision to not allow Zephyr to speak came after “multiple discussions” with other lawmakers, adding that there have been similar issues. Zephyr since hasn’t been allowed to speak on the House floor.

Zephyr was notified Tuesday night that House leaders would consider disciplinary action, according to a Twitter post by the lawmaker.

“I have been informed that during tomorrow’s floor session there will be a motion to either censure or expel me. I’ve also been told I’ll get a chance to speak. I will do as I have always done—rise on behalf of my constituents, in defense of my community, & for democracy itself,” Zephyr said.

Minority Leader Kim Abbott accused Republicans of trampling on the rights of Montanans’ right to free speech.

“Republicans are doubling down on their agenda of running roughshod over Montanans’ rights — to free expression, to peaceful protest, to equal justice under the law,” Abbott said.

Seven arrests were made on Monday when protesters went into the gallery at the Montana Statehouse and chanted “Let her speak.”

Regier said that Monday’s disruptions were a “dark day for Montana.”

“Currently, all representatives are free to participate in House debates while following the House rules,” Regier told reporters. “The choice to not follow the House rules is one that Rep. Zephyr has made. The only person silencing Rep. Zephyr is Rep. Zephyr. The Montana House will not be bullied.”

In the letter sent to Zephyr, Republican leaders said that the gallery will be closed on Wednesday “to maintain decorum and ensure safety.”

Abbott said that the protest inside the Statehouse “absolutely was not violent,” and [was] a predictable response to the actions levied against Zephyr.

Zephyr said that the seven people arrested were “defending democracy.”

“They picked me in this moment because I said a thing that got through their shield for a second,” Zypher said to supporters on the Montana Capitol steps.

The transgender lawmaker has said that an apology will not be issued.

Montana Freedom Caucus member Rep. Caleb Hinkle, one of the individuals who demanded the censure, previously said that “Hate-filled testimony has no place on the House floor.”

Update: Zephyr has been barred from the Montana house floor for a year, including the gallery and anteroom. This is a developing story.

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