Here's the Latest Roundup of How Governors Voted to Protect Girls in Sports

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Posted: Apr 25, 2021 9:30 PM
Here's the Latest Roundup of How Governors Voted to Protect Girls in Sports

Source: AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb, Fille

Three governors last week made the decision on whether or not to protect young girls in sports from having to compete with biological men when it came to signing or vetoing legislation which came across their desks.

North Dakota

On Wednesday, Republican Governor Doug Burgum vetoed legislation which has various aspects to it, according to Jack Dura with the Bismarck Tribune:

House Bill 1298, brought by Rep. Ben Koppelman, R-West Fargo, sought to prohibit public elementary and secondary schools from "knowingly" allowing a student to participate on a school-sponsored athletic team exclusively for their opposite sex. The bill does allow girls to play on boys sports teams.

The bill also included an optional 2021-22 interim study of the impact of the bill on student athletic events. Any findings and recommendations would go to the 2023 Legislature.

Gov. Burgum addressed the hypotheticals of biological men trying to play sports with young women, claiming "to date there has not been a single recorded incident of a transgender girl attempting to play on a North Dakota girls' team." He also made reference to the role the North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA) plays: 

"North Dakota has fairness in girls' and boys' sports in large part because of the caring and thoughtful leadership of the North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA) Board and its members," Burgum said. "We have every confidence they will continue to ensure a level playing field for the more than 27,000 students who participate in North Dakota high school sports."

Burgum also said "to date there has not been a single recorded incident of a transgender girl attempting to play on a North Dakota girls' team. Further, the NDHSAA already has regulations in place for participation in sex-separated interscholastic contests by transgender students."

The House voted to approve the legislation 69-25, which has a veto proof majority. The Senate, with its vote 27-20, does not have one. Both the House and Senate will to override, according to Dura. 

Kansas

On Thursday, Democratic Governor Laura Kelly vetoed the "The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act." She referenced all the liberal talking points you can imagine from a divisive perspective, all while calling the bill's sponsors "divisive."

When it comes to being "not welcoming," biological males are still welcome to compete in sports against biological males. The governor takes this from the perspective of worrying about transgender "children and families," but the focus must be on worrying for young women and maintaining their Title IX protections.

On how this law would "undoubtedly harm our ability to attract and retain businesses," Gov. Kelly is giving into pressure from the NCAA, as Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) did when she caved into such pressures and vetoed such legislation which came across her desk in a high profile situation.

According to the Kansas City Star, overriding the veto will require 11 additional votes in the Senate, with one in the House. 

Alabama 

On Friday, Republican Governor Kay Ivey became the latest governor to sign legislation protecting young women in sports. As Kim Chandler with AP reported:

Ivey’s office announced in an email that she had signed the bill that says a public K-12 school “may never allow a biological male to participate on a female team.” Asked if the governor had a comment on the decision, spokeswoman Gina Maiola said she could confirm the governor signed the bill but did not elaborate. 

...

The Alabama House voted 74-19 for the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Scott Stadthagen of Hartselle. The Alabama Senate voted 25-5 for the legislation.

“I want to thank Governor Ivey for her leadership and for protecting the rights of Alabama’s female athletes. Standing up for what is right is not always easy, but it is always the right thing to do,” Stadthagen said Friday.

Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principle Project, which has tracked and advocated for such legislation being considered in several states across the country, was particularly enthusiastic.

Other states which have passed such legislation include Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Idaho did so, but the law has been tied up in litigation. 

That's five states now. The APP is not only encouraged, but also ready to pass such legislation in more states to come.