BILL HEMMER (CO-HOST): Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin taking steps to boost parental rights. He's got a new proposal that would require parents to approve of their child changing their personal pronouns. That's a concept many Republican candidates are latching onto ahead of the mid-term and Mike Emanuel's got the story live in D.C. Hello to you Mike, good morning.
MIKE EMANUEL (CORRESPONDENT): Bill, good morning. Governor Glenn Younkin's parental rights proposal received more than 60,000 comments. It requires parental signoffs for students to use other names or pronouns in school. It also says use of bathrooms and locker rooms and participation in school activities is to be based on biological sex.
GLENN YOUNGKIN (CLIP): It feels just like what happened last year. All of a sudden the commonwealth of Virginia woke up and decided to shake off craziness.
EMANUEL: In response to Governor Youngkin's proposal Virginia house delegate Elizabeth Guzman proposed a bill to expand the definition of child abuse to include parents who did not provide gender-affirming care. Republican challengers in competitive congressional races in Virginia have both highlighted the bill in their campaign attacks.
YESLI VEGA (REPUBLICAN VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE): Who would have thought that we would be having conversations about parents being jailed if they do not conform to woke culture? That's insanity.
HUNG CAO (REPUBLICAN VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE): Our biggest issue is the parents' rights. Right. We have a delegate named Elizabeth Guzman who proposed a bill that would make it illegal for parents to not affirm the gender that the school counselors or school social workers deem.
EMANUEL: Virginia congresswoman Democrat Jennifer Wexton who is facing Republican Hung Cao now says, "I absolutely do not want to lock up parents and don't support this proposal. I am a fierce supporter of LGBTQ+ plus kids but this bill wouldn't result in getting them the support they need and deserve. The playbook's also being used in the Illinois governor's race. Republican Darren Bailey is taking on Democratic incumbent J.B. Pritzker.
DARREN BAILEY (REPUBLICAN ILLINOIS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE): I believe parents have the best interest in mind for their children and parents should be making that decision, not doctors or teachers or governors.
EMANUEL: Back to Virginia, Democrats now say they will not move forward with their bill.
HEMMER: Okay Mike, thanks, watching that Mike Emanuel. Thanks for that.
DANA PERINO (CO-HOST): Let's now bring in former education secretary Bill Bennett. Also a Fox News contributor. There's a lot of educational news this week about the failing test scores, which is abysmal, and you and I've talked about that a lot and you're such a champion for children. But also people need to be champions for parents, too. And that's what Glenn Youngkin is trying to do, that's what he said he was elected to do and he's trying to follow through. On this particular issue, where do you stand on that, where do you think people should come down?
BILL BENNETT (COMMENTATOR): Well, I think it's clear that most parents, almost all parents believe that children are the children of parents and of god, not of the school system, and therefore critical decisions about the child's life remain with the parent. When they talk about changing pronouns, this is the first step toward this whole discussion of possibly changing gender. That is earth shaking. And belongs to parents to discuss with their children. Indeed, at the very early grades particularly it is offensive to parents. This is what Glenn Youngkin has captured, this is what he's captured, Dana, what he captured when he became governor, this was a principle issue and he is after it again. This proposal by this Elizabeth Guzman, y'know, that parents cannot make the decision about these things is ridiculous and what is most interesting politically is that other Democrats like Ms. Wexton are backing off from it and saying they do not support it. So what you see here is a retreat by Democrats on a lot of their most radical proposals. They stepped out way too far.
PERINO: 6 in 10 parents feel there is too much focus on transgender policies in schools.