TOPEKA, Kan. — Conservative Republican legislators in Kansas failed Monday to override Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of a proposed ban on transgender athletes in girls’ and women’s school sports.
The Senate’s vote to override Kelly was 26-14, leaving backers of the measure one short of the necessary two-thirds majority and blocking an attempt in the House. The outcome was in doubt until the only Democrat to waver on voting against the override, Sen. David Haley, of Kansas City, cast his no vote.
More than 20 states have considered such proposals this year, as Republican lawmakers have pressed the issue. Idaho enacted such a law last year, and bans were enacted this year in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia. Florida lawmakers passed a bill, and South Dakota’s governor issued an executive order.
Kelly called the Kansas measure “regressive,” said it would send a message that Kansas was not a welcoming place and predicted it would hurt the state’s attempts to recruit businesses. LGBTQ-rights advocates said it would increase bullying of already vulnerable children.
The bill’s supporters said they were trying to protect fair competition in women’s sports and preserve hard-won opportunities for female athletes, such as college scholarships.
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