Recently, Gila Watch published Arizona Joins Texas in Lawsuit to Stop Federal Overreach. Arizona joined this lawsuit following a letter from Arizona lawmaker Representative Bob Thorpe (R-LD6). Rep. Thorpe has provided the letter to Gilbert Watch, as well as the data for how the State, Local and Federal education funds break down for 2014-2015.
Dear Arizona Superintendent of Schools Diane Douglas and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich:
Legislators have been receiving numerous complaints from constituents who are very concerned with the threatening tone of the May 13, 2016 letter from U.S. Attorney General Lynch and U.S. Department of Education Secretary King.
The letter coerces our nation’s K-12 public schools and colleges to ensure that transgender students must be allowed to use the gender designated restrooms, changing rooms and locker facilities of their choosing, not necessarily that of their biological gender. It has been estimated that approximately 0.3% of U.S. individuals identify themselves as transgender.
Article I, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution makes it perfectly clear that Congress has the sole Federal legislative authority. Due to our nation’s long established separation of powers, legislative authority cannot be exercised by the Executive, including the President, the Attorney General or any other member of the Executive branch. There are no Federal laws stating that schools must provide these accommodations for transgender students, and there have been no court rulings upholding the Obama administration’s current “opinion” concerning this matter.
Please understand that this is not a moral issue, it is a legal state’s rights issue, and as a sovereign state, Arizona is protected by the 10th Amendment and thus is under no legal obligation to provide these accommodations merely based upon the suggestion, or coercion, of the Obama administration.
Under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, for example, for a law to be enacted requiring public schools within the states to provide these accommodations for transgender students, both Houses of Congress must first pass a constitutional law that is in pursuance of the U.S. Constitution and does not exceed the limited enumerated powers of Congress, the President must sign it, and it must withstand legal challenges and judicial review.
In the letter, the Obama administration threatens that it will withhold federal educational funding from schools and states if their transgender demands are not followed. It is important to remember that, according to the Arizona Auditor General, in the 2014-2015 budget years, only a relatively small amount of ADE funding actually came from the Federal government. Only about 8% of ADE’s total educational funding was from Federal dollars, about 3% of Federal ADE funding was specifically for food programs, and about 1% of the Federal educational funding was for non-ADE food programs. (GW NOTE: See below for the State, Local and Federal education funds break-down for 2014-2015.)
It is troubling when you consider that the Obama administration is more than willing to defund and potentially harm the educations of the vast majority of our nation’s students in order to further its liberal political agenda. Some might refer to this “carrot and stick” approach as nothing more than blackmail, by threatening to withhold our taxpayer’s dollars as leverage against our citizens obedience to intimidation by the Obama administration.
Requiring these accommodations for transgender students would be a violation of the Constitutionally guaranteed 1st Amendment religious rights, civil rights and the moral traditions of the vast majority (99.7%) of Arizona students and their families, specifically those who do not identify themselves as transgender.
Therefore, the undersigned respectfully request that both the Arizona Superintendent of Schools and the Attorney General make public statements and/or official findings similar to the conclusions stated within this letter.
Representative Bob Thorpe
Co-signed by: Senator Sylvia Allen, Representatives Brenda Barton, Paul Boyer, Karen Fann, Mark Finchem, Vince Leach, and Anthony Kern
cc: Governor Doug Ducey, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, each Arizona School District Superintendent
State, Local and Federal Education Funds break-down for 2014-2015:
$9,755,381,504: 2014-2015 total K-12 Education funds
$8,430,688,700: were from State and Local
$1,149,452,304: Federal funding
$384,306,182: from Federal funding goes to nutrition programs not education
$100,215,232: goes to organizations other than schools, such as daycare centers in churches, refugee shelters and Team Nutrition
$35,712,726: adult education
$765,146,122: ADE receives Federal funding for K-12 education
$248,378,224: ADE receives Federal funding for food programs
8% Federal dollars for education
3% Federal dollars for ADE food programs
1% Federal dollars for non-ADE food programs