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Kansas lawmakers likely to pass bill on transgender athletes

Topeka capitol
Topeka capitol
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 1:10 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 8, 2021 at 2:45 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH/AP) - LGBTQ-rights advocates in Kansas are relying on Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly or the courts to block a ban on transgender athletes in girls’ or women’s school sports.

Conservatives on Thursday moved to push the proposal through the GOP-controlled Legislature. Republican negotiators for the state House and Senate on education issues have agreed to strip an unrelated bill of its contents, drop in the proposed ban and send the measure to both chambers for an up-or-down vote this week. The resulting measure will probably pass, given both chambers’ GOP supermajorities and conservative leaders.

The bill would require female athletic teams to only include females biological at birth. The measure, which includes K-12 and collegiate students, would also prevent transgender students from competing on women’s teams.

Some lawmakers say not only does the bill negatively impact Kansas children but also the economy.

“We’ve seen what the NCAA has done, and I don’t like being bullied by anybody either, but there’s serious risks if this thing gets passed into law that we will lose the NCAA March Madness tournament in Wichita, Kansas City, other parts of the state. That’s just the reality,” said Rep. Mark Samsel (R-Wellsville).

Proponents of the bill say it keeps women’s sports fair.

“I am not being hateful, and I don’t like being called hateful about this, but I think women and girls deserve a fair playing field and that what this is about,” said Rep. Susan Humphries (R-Wichita).

The governor has signaled that she will veto the measure.

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