Vetoes rise in Kansas for trans athlete and school bills

Kansas State Rep. Stephanie Byers, D-Wichita, opposes Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's veto on the banning of transgender <a class=athletes in school and varsity sports for girls and women, Thursday, April 28, 2022, at the Topeka Statehouse, Kan Byers is Kansas’ first elected transgender member. The cancellation of the right of veto failed. (AP Photo/John Hanna)” title=”Kansas State Rep. Stephanie Byers, D-Wichita, opposes Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto on the banning of transgender athletes in school and varsity sports for girls and women, Thursday, April 28, 2022, at the Topeka Statehouse, Kan Byers is Kansas’ first elected transgender member. The cancellation of the right of veto failed. (AP Photo/John Hanna)” loading=”lazy”/>

Kansas State Rep. Stephanie Byers, D-Wichita, opposes Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto on the banning of transgender athletes in school and varsity sports for girls and women, Thursday, April 28, 2022, at the Topeka Statehouse, Kan Byers is Kansas’ first elected transgender member. The cancellation of the right of veto failed. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

PA

Republican Kansas lawmakers failed on Thursday to override Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s vetoes on measures regarding transgender athletes and parents’ ability to challenge books and other materials in public schools.

Both proposals were priorities for conservative lawmakers and are likely to become issues in Kelly’s re-election race this year. The Senate voted to override Kelly’s vetoes on both, but supporters failed to secure the necessary two-thirds majorities in the House.

One of the measures would have banned transgender athletes from playing women’s and women’s sports in K-12 schools and colleges. Fifteen other states have passed a similar ban.

Supporters said they were trying to preserve fair competition and protect scholarship opportunities for “biological” girls and women. Critics said the measure was an attack on transgender youth.

The House vote to overturn was 81 to 41, leaving supporters three votes short of a two-thirds majority of 84 in the 125-member House.

The other bill would have required school districts to write policies to handle complaints from parents about classroom and library materials and make decisions about how to remove them.

Proponents called it a proposed “parents’ bill of rights.” Critics said it placed unnecessary burdens on schools and created divisions.

The vote was 72 to 50, leaving supporters 12 votes short of a two-thirds majority.

Naomi C. Amerson