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Thursday's Letter to the editor

OPINION April 1, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

Never cease to be amazed

Dear editor:

The Arkansas ruling party never fails to surprise me.

The three latest things that strike me as not just stupid but evil include passing legislation that forbids doctors from offering gender-confirming hormone treatment or surgery to trans minors. Doctors would also be unable to refer (making it a felony) minors to other medical providers for treatment. HB 1570, the "Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act," prohibits trans youth from accessing health care and insurance coverage for gender-affirming care. The bill passed 28-7 in the state Senate. The state House passed the bill earlier this month. Meanwhile, Republicans have steadfastly resisted all attempts to regulate endocrine and hormone-disrupting chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis. Plastic bottles and containers, liners of metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides all contain these chemicals, and our children, in particular, are exposed to these daily. It's no coincidence that the rising number of gender issues in our young people become more numerous as exposure continues.

For one, how dare you interfere against the wishes of the patients, their families and the recommendations of the medical professions involved? How dare you put into law provisions that will cause additional misery, depression and suicides among Arkansas trans youth. These children and their families have enough problems without a bunch of ignorant Pharisees in some misguided orgy of self-righteousness, meddling in the private affairs of these citizens. This is nothing more than brazen discrimination against yet another minority in our midst.

Another is the very disappointing House bill 1787 introduced by state Rep. Lanny Fite and state Sen. Blake Johnson designed to set Arkansas solar energy future back 20 years. The bill would remove utility regulatory power from the Arkansas Public Service Commission and destroy net metering in the state. Despite the Arkansas Legislature passing the Solar Access act of 2019, 28-2 in the Senate and 83-5 in the House and the Public Utilities Commission passing a net metering rule unanimously last year, this bill appears to be designed to cripple future solar power development, directly impact the growing number of solar jobs and according to experts will actually raise the rates for all consumers in the state. At best, this bill is misguided and will reverse the strides made in both economic advancement and environmental responsibility recently delivered in Arkansas. Solar is showing great promise; why we would like to cripple it and exactly who would benefit I can only guess.

Lastly, a big boo hiss for Gov. Hutchison removing the Arkansas mask mandate. Despite the fact that new variants are spreading across the country at an alarming rate and people are growing virus weary and less cautious daily the Governor's action is the exact reverse of what we need. The war with COVID-19 is not over, we need to keep fighting it daily to keep the bug at bay and give time for the vaccines to clobber its continued spread.

Steven Snellback



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