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Gov. Kelly vetoes transgender ban in girls’ sports

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday vetoed a bill barring transgender athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s sports, saying the legislation would endanger the state’s business climate and send a “devastating message that Kansas is not welcoming to all children.”

The measure, which was called “The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” required “intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic teams or sports that are sponsored by public educational institutions to be designated based on biological sex,” according to a summary of the bill.

It would prohibit athletic teams that are designated for women or girls from being open to students “of the male sex.”

Kelly also raised concerns about the economic impact of the bill. LGBTQ advocates have threatened to boycott states that approve Fairness in Women’s Sports bills, which have been signed by governors in four states over the last two legislative sessions.

“This bill would also undoubtedly harm our ability to attract and retain businesses,” Kelly said. “It would send a signal to prospective companies that Kansas is more focused on unnecessary and divisive legislation, than strategic, pro-growth lawmaking.”

READ: Former K-State high jumper upgraded to gold from silver for 2012 Olympics

Senate President Ty Masterson and state Sen. Renee Erickson, both Republicans, accused her of capitulating “to the mistruths and extreme rhetoric offered by the left.”

The bill’s proponents have characterized the pressure imposed by organizations like the NCAA as corporate bullying.O'Neill Excavating, Inc.

“The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act is as simple as it sounds — it ensures fairness,” Masterson and Erickson said in a statement. “It’s not about anything else other than that, and no state should allow itself to be intimidated by big corporations or the NCAA into pretending otherwise. We will continue to fight for fairness in women’s sports until this bill becomes law.”

Christiana Holcomb, legal counsel for the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom, said the legislation would have helped female athletes in Kansas “compete on a level playing field” and urging legislators to override the veto.

“We’ve seen increasing examples of males dominating girls’ athletic competitions when competing as females, capturing championships, and shattering long-standing female track records,” Ms. Holcomb said. “While we are disappointed by the governor’s veto, we are thankful to Kansas legislators for taking a strong stand for female athletes.”

Kansas is one of 31 states where legislation barring transgender youth from playing in girl’s and women’s sports has been proposed.

Senate Bill 55, was passed earlier this month in the state legislature by votes of 26-11 in the Senate and 76-43 in the House. Both votes were shy of the two-thirds majorities — 84 in the House, 27 in the Senate — needed to override a gubernatorial veto.

In order to override Kelly’s veto, Republicans in the Kansas legislature will need eleven additional “yes” votes for the transgender ban in the House and one in the Senate.

Donna Lippoldt, founder of Culture Shield Network, said “It’s only reasonable for Kansas to pass a law to protect women’s sports. It’s unfair to young girls and young women who have trained so hard their entire lives for them to be defeated by men who are naturally stronger.”

Lippoldt urged citizens to contact the Representatives and Senators who either abstained or voted no on the transgender ban.

“We recommend that you send a postcard or a letter,” she said, “since they are out of the capitol until May 3rd.”

Office and home information on each legislator, as well as how they voted on the transgender ban, can be found at these links by clicking on the name of the legislator:

Kansas House

Kansas Senate




Representative Dave Baker

Council Grove

Room: 519-N

Phone: 785 296-6997

Email: dave.baker@house.ks.gov

Home Information

PO Box 252, Council Grove, KS 66846

Phone: 620-767-2528

Email: davebaker.kansas@gmail.com


Representative Jesse Borjon


Phone: 785 296-7374

Email: jesse.borjon@house.ks.gov

Home Information

5326 SW 40th Terr., Topeka, KS 66610

Phone: 785 249-9438


Representative Susan Concannon


Phone: 785 296-7644

Email: susan.concannon@house.ks.gov

Home Information

921 N. Mill Street, Beloit, KS 67420

Phone: 785 738-8087



Representative Bradley Ralph

Dodge City

Phone: 785 296-7501

Email: Brad.Ralph@house.ks.gov

Home Information

2103 6th Ave., Dodge City, KS 67801

Phone: 620-338-1547



Representative John Barker


Phone: 785 296-7674

Email: john.barker@house.ks.gov

Home Information

103 Wassinger Ave., Abilene, KS 67410

Phone: 785 479-7519



Representative Mark Schreiber


Phone: 785 296-2721

Email: Mark.Schreiber@house.ks.gov

Home Information

1722 Yucca Lane, Emporia, KS 66801

Phone: 620-342-6954



Representative Kent Thompson


Phone: 785-296-7451

Email: kent.thompson@house.ks.gov

Home Information

P.O. Box 626, Iola, KS 66749

Phone: 620-496-2255

Fax: 620 365-3297





Senator Carolyn McGinn


Phone: 785-296-7377

Email: Carolyn.McGinn@senate.ks.gov

Home Information

PO Box A, Sedgwick, KS 67135

Phone: 316-772-0147


Senator Brenda Dietrich


Phone: 785-296-7648

Email: Brenda.Dietrich@senate.ks.gov

Home Information

6110 SW 38th Terr., Topeka, KS 66610

Phone: 785-861-7065



Senator John Doll

Dodge City

Phone: 785-296-7694

Email: John.Doll@senate.ks.gov

Home Information

2927 Cliff Place, Garden City, KS 67846

Phone: 620-275-9304

Fax: 620-275-9304



–Lee Hartman | Metro Voice News