TOPEKA (KSNT)- Kansas lawmakers are considering several bills setting restrictions for transgender people in the state. As of Wednesday, a bill in the House and two bills in the Senate are set to pass.
The House Bill, HB 2238, aims to revive a Republican proposal, banning transgender athletes from women sports. It passed in the Kansas House at a vote of 82-40. It now goes to the Kansas Senate.
The bill would create the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” requiring interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic teams to be expressly designated based on biological sex. Biological sex would be defined without regard to an individual’s psychological or chosen, or subjective experience of gender.
The ban also applies to any public schools (grades K-12) or post-secondary institutions.
“We used to hear that it was about bathrooms in the military and now it’s about kicking kids off of the kickball fields in grade school,” said Representative Brandon Woodard, a Democrat from Lenexa. Woodard said the measure is part of a Republican-led push to attack transgender youth in the state.
“This has never been about sports. It’s about attacking trans kids in Kansas,” Woodard said.
Representartive Barbara Wasinger, a Republican from Hays who is carrying the bill in the House, said it’s “not about [transgender youth],” but instead, leveling the playing field for women sports.
“It’s not to leave anybody out…It’s not to punish anyone…It’s saying find another way to take care of all the people that need to play sports,” Wasinger said.
The proposal would require athletic teams to be expressly designated as either Males, men, or boys; Females, women, or girls; or coed or mixed.
Republicans are trying to get the bill passed for the third year in a row, after failing to override democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s vetoes in the past.
“The whips are going around and getting counts all the time, so I’m hoping that they have all the votes that they need to make sure we override the Governor’s veto,” Wasinger said.
Wasinger said two other bills in the Senate are likely to be “well-received” in the House.
One of the bills, Senate Bill 233, would revoke a physician’s license, if they perform gender-reassignment surgery on a minor. This passed at a vote of 82-40.
Another bill, Senate Bill 180, would define biological sex as either “male” or “female,” when it comes to areas like athletics or going to restrooms.
“Trans people have existed for centuries… They just want to pee in peace,” Woodard said.
Lawmakers are moving quickly to get bills passed this week, as “Turnaround Day” nears. It’s the first major deadline this session, as it’s the last day for non-exempt bills to be considered in their house of origin.
Republicans are hoping they have the numbers to successfully override any vetoes that come down from the Governor.
However, Woodard says that democrats are also planning to fight back.
“We’re working behind the scenes to talk with our new colleagues… so I look forward to hopefully defeating them, and if we’re not successful in that, making sure we protect the Governor’s veto,” Woodard said.