Nebraska Democratic state Sen. Megan Hunt is being investigated for an alleged conflict of interest in her decision to vote against a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for people under 19.
David D. Begley, a prominent Omaha attorney, filed the complaint on March 23, claiming that because Hunt is the mother of a trans child, she’s likely to benefit financially if the legislation, LB 574, does not become law.
On Wednesday, Hunt was informed by the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission that the group would launch a formal probe into the matter.
The lawmaker responded to the allegations the same day, speaking from the state Capitol.
“This, colleagues, is not serious. This is harassment,” she said. “This is using the legal system that we have in our state to stop corruption, to increase transparency, to hold governments accountable and using it to harass a member of the Legislature.”
LB 574 was introduced in January by freshman Sen. Kathleen Kauth, a Republican.
Hunt’s medical insurance and that of her child’s is provided by Medicaid, which is managed by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.
Based on a speech Hunt gave on the state legislature floor, gender-affirming care for her child would cost $7,000 a month without insurance.
LB 574 states that “state funds shall not be directly or indirectly used, granted, paid or distributed to any entity, organization or individual that provides gender altering procedures to an individual younger than 19.”
Gender-affirming care is not part of the state’s Medicaid coverage, however.
In Begley’s complaint, he argues that “If LB 574 does not become law, then Sen. Hunt’s immediate family member could receive a financial benefit with Medicaid paying for the medical sources necessary to transition genders.”
This follows a trend of majority Republican state governments taking action against progressive lawmakers. On the same day Hunt was informed of the investigation, legislators in Montana censured state Rep. Zooey Zephyr for the remainder of the session after she’d been silenced for speaking on any bills for nearly a week straight.
The state’s House Speaker Matter Regier initially refused to call on Zephyr following remarks she made regarding a piece of legislation that would ban gender-affirming care for minors. Regier said Zephyr’s comments broke decorum and that she’d need to rectify the issue to speak again.
During her comments Wednesday, Hunt said that she hopes that Nebraska can become a place where her child can prosper, adding that she “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.”