Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R) is being mocked for failing to understand the role of police officers after he demanded they enforce a gender-affirming care ban that is outside their jurisdiction.
The state legislature recently passed a bill banning trans youth from accessing gender-affirming care. While it has not yet been signed by Republican Gov. Mike Parson, the City Council of Kansas City has already declared itself a sanctuary city for gender-affirming care in anticipation of Parson’s likely approval of the bill.
She scolded Democrats about respect but it didn’t go quite as planned.
In response, Bailey sent a letter to the city’s Board of Police Commissioners asking them to “do something unprecedented and radical” after he claimed the City Council “publically urged you to disregard your duty to enforce this critical legislation.”
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“It is the Board’s constitutional duty to enforce the law and ensure that children are protected from these dangerous experimental gender transition interventions,’ he wrote.
He said that supporting the City Council’s resolution “would not only harm children, but would also be a flagrant violation of the Board’s legal duties.”
In a statement responding to Bailey’s directive, Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves explained that the legislation purports civil, not criminal, penalties and thus does not involve police enforcement.
“These provisions are outside the jurisdiction of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department (KCPD),” said Graves, according to the Kansas City Star. “I want to assure Kansas City, we will continue to serve all the members of the community equitably regardless of race, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.”
Others weren’t quite as reserved with their feelings about Bailey’s words.
“Sounds like Andrew Bailey needs to Google what police do instead of making them waste their time explaining to the state’s top lawyer that police handle criminal cases, not civil actions,” said Democratic state Sen. Lauren Arthur.
Dawn Cramer, Kansas City police board member, added, “I just feel like it doesn’t pertain to us. Should the attorney general have written that? You know, I can’t really say unless he thought we were missing something.”
Bailey has made banning gender-affirming care his mission in Missouri.
In March, he announced a regulation imposing severe restrictions on gender-affirming care in the state. Among other directives, it said both minors and adults in Missouri would be required to receive 15 hourly sessions with a therapist over at least 18 months before receiving gender-affirming care such as hormone therapy or puberty blockers. They would also have to be screened for autism and “social media addiction.” Any mental health issues would have to be treated and resolved before they would be eligible for treatment for gender dysphoria.
Critics described the move as a “power grab” and “an outrageous attack on basic healthcare for transgender people of all ages.”
Soon after, a judge temporarily halted the rule, which critics said could force trans adults and young people to de-transition.
Bailey dropped the rule earlier this month, saying he did so because the legislature had passed its own ban. But state House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D) believes Bailey actually dropped the rule because he knew it was unconstitutional.
“Andrew Bailey grossly overstepped his legal authority, and everyone knows it,” Quade said in a statement. “So, it isn’t surprising he withdrew his unconstitutional rule knowing another embarrassing court defeat was inevitable. Missourians deserve an attorney general worthy of the office, not one who persecutes innocent Missourians for political gain.”
A Kansas City trans woman, Heidi Schultz, told the Star that Bailey’s letter is more proof that he is abusing his power.
“Bailey just seems to be a politician and looking for those little soundbites for his campaign commercials,” she said. “I worry about these things and that the KCPD would flip flop but it doesn’t seem like something that is serious or something that will actually happen, you know?”