TOPEKA (KSNT)- Kansas lawmakers are considering several bills that place restrictions on transgender people in the state. As of Wednesday, one bill in the House and two in the Senate are expected to pass.
The House Bill, HB 2238, aims to revive a Republican proposal, banning transgender athletes from women’s sports. He advanced to the Kansas House in a vote of 82-40. Now he goes to the Kansas Senate.
The bill would create the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” which requires interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic teams to be specifically 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 all public schools (grades K-12) or post-secondary institutions.
“We heard it was about baths in the military and now it’s about kicking kids off kickball fields in elementary schools,” said Rep. Brandon Woodard, a Democrat from Lenexa. Woodard said the measure is part of a Republican-led push to attack transgender youth in the state.
“It was never about sports. This is about attacking trans children in Kansas,” Woodard said. Rep. Barbara Wasinger, a Republican from Hays who is bringing the bill to the House, said “it is not about [transgender youth]”, but instead, leveling the playing field for women’s sports.
“It’s not leaving anyone out… It’s not punishing anyone… It’s finding another way to take care of all the people who need to play sports,” Wasinger said.
The proposal would require athletic teams to be specifically designated as boys, men, or boys; Females, women or girls; either coed or mixed.
Republicans are trying to pass the bill for the third consecutive year, after failing in the past to overcome Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s vetoes.
“The whips go around and do maths all the time, so I hope they have all the votes they need to make sure we get past the Governor’s veto,” Wasinger said.
Wasinger said two more Senate bills are likely to be “well received” in the House.
One of the bills, Senate Bill 233, would revoke a doctor’s license if they performed gender reassignment surgery on a minor. This passed in a vote of 82-40.
Another bill, Senate Bill 180, would define biological sex as “male” or “female,” when it comes to areas like athletics or going to the bathroom.
“Trans people have been around for ages… They just want to pee in peace,” Woodard said.
Lawmakers are moving fast to get the bills approved this week, as “Turnaround Day” approaches. It’s the first big deadline of this session, as it’s the last day that non-exempt bills can be considered at their home of origin.
Republicans hope they have the numbers to successfully overcome any veto that comes from the governor.
However, Woodard says Democrats are also planning to fight back.
“We’re working behind the scenes to talk to our new colleagues… so I look forward to defeating them, and if we fail, making sure we protect the Governor’s veto,” Woodard said.