March 29, 2023 11:48 pm

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 mentioned Friday the annual attack on transgender students sends “a signal to potential providers that Kansas is extra focused on unnecessary and divisive legislation than becoming a spot exactly where young people today want to function and raise a household.”

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

Residence Bill 2238 would call for young children 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 mentioned earlier this year that the law would apply to around two student athletes in Kansas schools.

Republicans hold supermajority ranks in each chambers, but it remains unclear no matter whether they have the 84 votes required to override the veto in the Residence. A single Democrat joined Republicans in the Residence in passing the bill by an 82-40 margin on Feb. 23. Republicans in the Senate, which requirements 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 comparable bills in 2021 and 2022.

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

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

“Now that she no longer has to face the voters, the governor has completed yet another about face,” mentioned Residence Speaker Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican.

Hawkins mentioned the bill passed the Residence and Senate “with broad help 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 widespread sense. Republicans in the Residence will make just about every 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 never ever about sports. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

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

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

The Legislature has 30 calendar days to attempt to override a veto, which indicates lawmakers would have to try an override ahead of the common session is scheduled to finish April six.

Rep. Floyd Carr was the lone Democrat to vote in favor of the legislation. He is a initially-term legislator from Wichita.

Rep. Mark Schreiber, an Emporia Republican, and Rep. David Younger, a Ulysses Republican and retired educator, broke from celebration ranks to vote against the bill.

Two other Republicans, Rep. Randy Garber, of Sabetha, and Rep. Tom Kessler, of Wichita, have been absent from the vote, along with Topeka Democrat Rep. Virgil Weigel.

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