May 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Kansas bill to ban trans athletes fails by one vote

Gov. Laura Kelly

Gov. Laura Kelly. Photo: Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

A Kansas bill banning transgender girls from playing women's sports failed Monday after the state Senate failed to override a veto from Gov. Laura Kelly (D).

Why it matters: The 26-14 vote meant that the bill hinged on one Democrat — Sen. David Haley — voting in opposition and breaking the needed two-thirds majority, per AP.

The big picture: Nearly 90 bills targeting trans kids have been introduced by predominately Republican state legislatures this year, per ACLU data. Nine other bills across five states, mostly focused on health care, have failed.

What they're saying: "SB55 was nothing more than a politically motived bill that seeks to dehumanize transgender Kansans," Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David said in a statement when the governor first vetoed the bill.

  • In her veto statement last month, Kelly said the bill would send "a devastating message that Kansas is not welcoming to all children and their families" and "would also undoubtedly harm our ability to attract and retain businesses."
  • Republicans backing the bills say that they will ensure fairness in women's sports, although multiple lawmakers have been unable to provide evidence of trans athletes trying to gain unfair sports advantages in their states.
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