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How is Utah enforcing its new transgender bathroom law?

The sign for a women’s bathroom at the Capitol in Salt Lake City is pictured on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024.
Spenser Heaps
Utah News Dispatch
The sign for a women’s bathroom at the Capitol in Salt Lake City is pictured on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024.

Utah schools, agencies are now required to comply with Utah’s transgender bathroom bill. Here’s how the state auditor is enforcing it.

Utah’s public schools, state agencies and other publicly owned or controlled facilities must now start complying with Utah’s new law that restricts transgender people from accessing the bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify with.

While the law, HB257, took effect immediately when Gov. Spencer Cox signed it in January, certain provisions had a delayed effective date to give government entities a few months to comply with the law. On Wednesday, those measures took effect.

Starting this week, the Utah State Auditor is now required to “receive and investigate alleged violations” of government entities not complying with the law. A new page on the Utah State Auditor’s complaint hotline website went live on Wednesday, where Utahns can file complaints of government violations.

The Utah State Auditor is “limited to assessing a government entity’s compliance” with HB257, the auditor’s website notes, and “does not review or make any determination on the actions of private individuals, nor does the State Auditor investigate or determine an individual’s sex or gender.”

The law requires government agencies to contact law enforcement if they receive complaints or allegations about criminal behavior in a “privacy space,” which includes going into a sex-designated changing room that doesn’t correspond with their “biological sex,” according to the bill.

“The alleged violation must have occurred at a publicly owned or controlled facility, program, or event,” the auditor’s website states. “When possible, citizens should make a good faith effort to address and resolve concerns with the government entity before submitting a complaint to the State Auditor.”

If an auditor’s investigation substantiates a violation and if a government entity “fails to cure” it within 30 days, the auditor could refer the violation to the Utah Attorney General’s Office, and the school or agency could face a fine of up to $10,000 per violation per day, according to the bill.

Utah Auditor John Dougall told Utah News Dispatch on Wednesday afternoon his office had not yet received any official complaints. But given Utah’s government agencies only now are required to comply, time will tell whether his office will receive any.

Allegations would not be made public unless the auditor’s office investigates and details the findings in an audit report, Dougall said. That’s a standard practice for how his office handles complaints.

You can find the full story at the Utah News Dispatch.

Utah News Dispatch is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news source covering government, policy and the issues most impacting the lives of Utahns.