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Missouri attorney general urges Kansas City police to enforce transgender care restrictions law

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey on Wednesday vowed to take “any legal action necessary” against Kansas City if its police department does not enforce a law banning transgender transition procedures for minors.

Bailey, a Republican, said in a letter to the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners that the board has a constitutional duty to enforce the law, which was passed by the Missouri Legislature this month. Republican Gov. Mike Parson has not yet signed the bill but is expected to do so.

The letter comes after the Kansas City Council on May 11 approved a resolution designating the city as an LGBTQ+ sanctuary city. The resolution said the city will not prosecute or fine any person or organization that seeks, provides, receives or helps someone receive gender-affirming care such as as puberty blockers, hormones or surgery.

The city also said if the state passes a law imposing criminal or civil punishments, fines, or professional sanctions in such cases, personnel in Missouri’s largest city will make enforcing those requirements “their lowest priority.”

Kansas City, a Democratic stronghold in a largely Republican state, is currently the only city in Missouri that does not control its police department. Instead, the board of police commissioners, made up the mayor and four members appointed by the governor, oversees the department.

Bailey said because the board is state-controlled, following the city council’s resolution would violate the board’s legal duties. He also said state law preempts contradictory local ordinances.

“It is the Board’s constitutional duty to enforce the law and ensure that children are protected from these dangerous, experimental gender transition interventions,” Bailey wrote. “As Missouri’s top legal officer, I will take any legal action necessary against the City to ensure our state laws are enforced.”

Earlier this week, Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said in a statement that the law is outside the police department’s jurisdiction because its provisions “do not pertain to criminal conduct, but rather seeks enforcement through medical licensing and civil action.”

“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,” Graves said.

Bailey had sought to implement an emergency rule in April that would have required adults and minors to undergo more than a year of therapy and fulfill other requirements before they could receive gender-affirming treatments such as puberty blockers, hormones and surgery. He withdrew the rule after lawmakers passed the law banning transgender care for minors.

Margaret Stafford, The Associated Press