TOPEKA, KS (KCTV/AP) -- The Kansas Senate on Wednesday passed Senate Bill 208, which would ban transgender athletes from competing in high school girls sporting events.
The vote was 24-10 and it now moves to the Kansas House of Representatives.
The bill was introduced in the Senate on Feb. 10, 2021.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Wednesday called the bill "regressive."
"We know from lots of experience in other states that when you implement these kinds of regressive social policies that you significantly decrease the ability to attract businesses here,” Kelly said. “Businesses want us to be inclusive.”
The state association that oversees middle and high school activities in Kansas has said it knows of only five transgender students currently active in K-12 activities, and there’s no record of any transgender school sports champions. Supporters argue that a ban would promote fairness in girls’ and women’s sports and repeatedly point to the 15 championships won between 2017 and 2019 by two transgender high school runners in Connecticut, which prompted a federal lawsuit.
Supporters of the Kansas bill also said they’re protecting the hard-won opportunities in sports and other activities since federal civil rights laws in the 1970s.
“It’s a very positive step for girls in Kansas,” said Brittany Jones, advocacy director for the conservative Family Policy Alliance of Kansas.