Kansas governor vetoes legislation banning transgender athletes from college sports

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly for the third straight year has vetoed model legislation that would ban transgender girls from playing college sports with cisgender girls.

The Democratic governor stated Friday the annual attack on transgender students sends “a signal to potential corporations that Kansas is far more focused on unnecessary and divisive legislation than becoming a location exactly where young men and women want to perform and raise a household.”

“Let’s be clear about what this bill is all about — politics,” Kelly stated. “It will not enhance any test scores. It will not enable any little ones study or create. It will not enable any teachers prepare our little ones for the actual globe. Here’s what this bill would really do: harm the mental well being of our students.”

Residence Bill 2238 would demand kids as young as kindergarten age to participate in college activities primarily based on the gender they have been assigned at birth. Challenges potentially could expose them to genital inspections.

The Kansas State Higher College Activities Association stated earlier this year that the law would apply to about two student athletes in Kansas schools.

Republicans hold supermajority ranks in each chambers, but it remains unclear irrespective of whether they have the 84 votes required to override the veto in the Residence. 1 Democrat joined Republicans in the Residence in passing the bill by an 82-40 margin on Feb. 23. Republicans in the Senate, which requires 27 votes to override a veto, passed the bill by a 28-11 margin on March 9.

Debates this year have mirrored previous discussions on transgender athletes. The Legislature passed equivalent bills in 2021 and 2022.

Republicans argue the bill is important to safeguard girls from losing scholarship possibilities or sharing locker rooms with boys, and regularly use speaking points spawned by anti-LGBTQ hate groups that crafted the model legislation.

When the governor campaigned for reelection final year, she stated guys shouldn’t compete in women’s sports. But Republicans have refused to acknowledge a distinction among guys and transgender ladies.

“Now that she no longer has to face the voters, the governor has performed a further about face,” stated Residence Speaker Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican.

Hawkins stated the bill passed the Residence and Senate “with broad assistance to safeguard the rights of female athletes in the state by requiring that female student athletic teams only include things like members who are biologically female. This is typical sense. Republicans in the Residence will make each work to override this veto.”

Rija Nazir, of Loud Light, participates in a March six, 2023, rally at the Statehouse for bodily autonomy. She says legislation targeting transgender athletes was under no circumstances about sports. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

The Legislature has 30 calendar days to attempt to override a veto, which implies lawmakers would have to try an override just before the normal session is scheduled to finish April six.

Rija Nazir, of the civic action group Loud Light, stated the bill was “never about sports or athletes.”

“Not only does this bill fail to comprehend the distinction among sex and gender, but dehumanizes cisgender girls by measuring them by the possible function of their reproductive organs,” Nazir stated. “The Kansas Legislature really should be ashamed of themselves for attempting to infringe on the privacy of minors.”

This building story will be updated.

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