Kansas Governor Vetoes Anti-Trans Sports Bill for Third Consecutive Year

For the third year in a row, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, has vetoed an anti-transgender sports bill — but this year legislators might override her.

In her veto message on Property Bill 2238, Kelly stated the regulations of the Kansas Higher College Activities Association are enough to assure fairness in sports.

“As I’ve stated just before, we all want a fair and protected spot for our children to play and compete,” she stated in a statement Friday. “That’s why I help the Kansas State Higher College Activities Association, which was set up to assure no one has an unfair benefit on the playing field. The Legislature must let the Association do its job.

“Let’s be clear about what this bill is all about – politics. It will not enhance any test scores. It will not assistance any children study or create. It will not assistance any teachers prepare our children for the true planet. Here’s what this bill would in fact do: harm the mental overall health of our students. That is precisely why Republican governors have joined me in vetoing comparable bills.

“This bill would also reverse the progress we’ve produced in recruiting organizations and building jobs. It would send a signal to potential organizations that Kansas is much more focused on unnecessary and divisive legislation than becoming a spot exactly where young persons want to operate and raise a family members.”

HB 2238 would have barred trans girls and females from competing on female sports teams in K-12 schools, clubs, and public colleges. There are only 3 trans athletes participating in college sports in the state, The Topeka Capital-Journal reports.

Legislators have 30 days from the time they acquire Kelly’s official veto notice to try an override. “Republicans have much more than the two-thirds majorities in each chambers necessary to override a veto, but in 2021 and 2022, a couple of GOP moderates voted against overriding Kelly,” the Linked Press notes. “The Property and Senate votes on this year’s bill recommend supporters could have just adequate votes to prevail.”

So far, 18 states have restricted trans participation on college sports. This year, Kansas has observed the introduction of not only the sports bill but a assortment of other anti-trans measures, such as a ban on gender-affirming care for youth and a “bathroom bill.”

The Human Rights Campaign praised Kelly’s veto. “Anti-equality legislators in Kansas have spent years repeatedly targeting a little group of currently marginalized young persons who want to play sports for the identical cause all students do — to discover sportsmanship, self-discipline and teamwork, and to have entertaining,” stated a statement from Cathryn Oakley, HRC state legislative director and senior counsel. “The legislature has produced it clear that this discrimination is what it stands for, in spite of just about every piece of proof displaying that there is no rational cause underpinning this legislation.

“In contrast, Governor Kelly treated Kansas students with dignity and respect by refusing to permit kids and college athletics to be treated as a political game. By vetoing this discriminatory legislation she not only took a stand against discrimination, but she also saved Kansas taxpayers the expense of defending this litigation in court, as other states have had to do. Transgender children are children — they deserve just about every chance that any kid does. All students, and all Kansans, are superior off simply because of Governor Kelly’s selection right now.”

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