GOP unlikely to override veto on sports ban

Conservative lawmakers want the transgender sports ban to apply to elementary school students. Lawmakers approved the bill with solid majorities but not enough to override an almost-certain veto from Gov. Laura Kelly.


State News

April 4, 2022 - 2:21 PM

Rep. Barb Wasinger, R-Hays, said the competitive integrity of sports teams for girls and women had to be protected from an influx of transgender athletes through a bill sent to Gov. Laura Kelly. Photo by (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas appears unlikely to join other states this year in keeping transgender athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s school sports, partly because conservative state lawmakers want the ban to apply to elementary school students.

The Republican-controlled Legislature approved a proposed ban early Saturday with solid majorities in both chambers — but not the two-thirds needed to override an almost-certain veto from Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. She rejected a similar bill last year, saying it would send “a devastating message that Kansas is not welcoming to all children and their families.”

Republicans nationwide have pushed the issue to appeal to a broad swath of voters, framing it as fairness in competition and access to scholarships. At least 12 other states have enacted such laws, including Arizona and Oklahoma this week. Supporters in Kansas believe the issue grew even more compelling for athletes and their families with the University of Pennsylvania’s Lia Thomas recently becoming the NCAA’s first transgender champion in women’s swimming.

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