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Montana Rep. Zooey Zephyr loses court bid to return to House floor

Rep. Zephyr sued in hopes of returning to the House floor before Montana ends its every-two-years session in May.
Rep. Zooey Zephyr speaks on the Montana House floor on Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Posted at 8:43 PM, May 02, 2023

A court has ruled Montana Rep. Zooey Zephyr cannot return to the House floor as it concludes its session.

Rep. Zephyr, the transgender lawmaker who was censured last week after speaking out in support of gender-affirming health care for children, filed in court on Monday in hopes of getting an emergency order that would allow her to return to the floor.

District Court Judge Mike Menahan said he didn't have the authority to overrule the decision of Montana's Republican-led House. 

Republican lawmakers claimed Zephyr violated the chamber's rule on decorum. 

Montana's legislature marks a new 90-day session every two years. Its current session will end in mid-May, which means Rep. Zephyr would have to run for re-election prior to the next session in 2024.

State Rep. Zooey Zephyr speaks on the phone after House Speaker Matt Regier told her she could not work from the hallway.

Transgender lawmaker sues after being censured by Republicans

A censured transgender Democratic lawmaker in Montana and the ACLU are suing, saying the legislature is violating her constituents' rights.


"The Montana courts have recognized that the Judicial Branch has no power to revise or overrule the power expressly held by the Montana State Legislature to conduct its business. The House is continuing its work for the people of Montana," Montana Speaker of the House Matt Regier said after the ruling.

Rep. Zephyr vowed to continue fighting to represent her constituents.

"If I cannot do it in the chamber, I will take it to the courts. And if my constituents are not granted their representation by the courts, I will take it to the ballot box," Zephyr wrote.

Rep. Zooey Zephyr, right, looks on as members of the Montana House of Representatives recite The Pledge of Allegiance.

Montana not the only state targeting transgender health care

Lawmakers say they don't want children making decisions they'll regret, but many of the procedures being banned are considered reversible.