TOPEKA, Kan. — A new law going into effect in Kansas would require separate accommodations for students of each biological sex on overnight class trips.
The Senate voted 31-8 to override Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of Senate Substitute for House Bill 2138 Thursday, KSNT reports. This comes after the House voted 85-39 to override the veto on Wednesday.
The bill includes a number of provisions, regarding education, but among the most contentious was a requirement for school district boards to adopt a policy providing separate sleeping accommodations for students on overnight trips.
Some Republicans have cited an incident that occurred in Eudora, where one student was forced to share a room with a transgender student on a trip with other classmates. The superintendent of the Eudora School Board has denied that it was a school-sponsored trip, despite claims from Republican legislators.
“We did verify in committee that this was a school facilitated event with educators from the school on this trip, and the policy change was they will allow 48 hours notice and no additional accommodations… this will happen again…it’s our duty as legislators to say this cannot happen,” said Rep. Adam Thomas, a Republican from Olathe, who carried the bill in the House, during initial debates.
Thomas said the bill does “leave the door open” for local control for districts to adopt policies, despite comments from lawmakers, who stood against the bill.
Some Democrats argued that the move was a clear example of government overreach.
“Instead of giving our school districts and our school boards, again, an opportunity to address this issue, we just come up with legislation…,” said Rep. Jerry Stogsdill, D-Prairie Village. “We have to slam legislation on these folks without even giving them a shot.”
Other provisions in the bill include, permitting local broadcasters to broadcast a school’s regular or postseason activities under certain criteria; and providing for administrative review by the State Board of Education (State Board) of resolutions adopted by school district boards to permanently close a school building.