Out Nebraska state Sen. Megan Hunt (D) has been put under investigation by the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission (NADC) for a possible conflict of interest because she has a transgender child and the state legislature is considering a bill to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
Omaha lawyer David Begley filed the complaint, which was hand-delivered yesterday by NACD executive director Frank Daley.
“The point isn’t that I could gain financially if my kid has rights,” she said. “The point is the harassment.”
Hunt is one of three state senators – along with state Senators Machaela Cavanaugh (D) and Jen Day (D) – who have been filibustering L.B. 574, which would deny trans youth in the state access to reversible puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy, despite the fact that major medical organizations like the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics support age-appropriate gender-affirming care.
Hunt, who is the first bisexual lawmaker in Nebraska, is the mother of a transgender 12-year-old son. Earlier this month, she got national attention when she spoke directly to the Republicans supporting L.B. 574: “Don’t say hi to me in the hall, don’t ask me how my weekend was, don’t walk by my desk and ask me anything. Don’t send me Christmas cards ― take me off the list. No one in the world holds a grudge like me, and no one in the world cares less about being petty than me. I don’t care. I don’t like you.”
State law requires that public officials and employees disclose potential conflicts of interest, but this refers to when a decision could have “a financial benefit or detriment to the public official or public employee, a member of his or her immediate family or business with which he or she is associated.”
Begley, in his complaint, argued that Hunt would have “a slightly more than average chance” of getting the state’s Medicaid program to cover gender-affirming care for her son if L.B. 574 isn’t passed, even though Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services bans Medicaid funds from being used for gender-affirming care.
“In order to fully transition, Senator Hunt’s child would need medical services,” Begley wrote.
“This, colleagues, is not serious,” she said. “This is harassment. This is using the legal system that we have in our state to stop corruption, to increase transparency, to hold government accountable, and using it to harass a member of the legislature, who you all know is trying to do the right thing, is trying to parent her child in a way that keeps that child alive, in a way that keeps that child successful in school and with friends and healthy.”
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Nebraska are standing up for Hunt.
“I do not endorse this offensive complaint,” state Sen. Tom Brandt (R) said, adding that “family is off limits” and “It is so far out of bounds that it does not merit discussion.”
“So if Senator Hunt is going to get a conflict or a NADC file against her, then I should, too,” state Sen. Wendy DeBoer (D) said, referring to how all legislators are impacted by legislation passed by the body but it usually isn’t considered a conflict of interest.
But Hunt said that’s not enough; she wants Republicans to give up their attempt to ban trans youth like her son from getting gender-affirming care.
“My colleagues stood up offering support, but I don’t need their words. I need their vote,” she said.
Earlier this month, Hunt told LGBTQ Nation that the filibuster over L.B. 574 shows just how much Republicans want to harm transgender youth.
“The people who are standing in the way of progress for the session are not the folks like me standing up for human rights,” Hunt said. “It’s on those who refuse to negotiate and compromise, who are saying, ‘It’s more important to us to discriminate against kids than it is to have a successful session.’ It’s on them.”