Bill Not Allowing Transgender Athletes to Compete Against Females in Louisiana Advances
In Louisiana, it seems as if the transgender sports issue is not totally split along party lines.
Yes, there are Democrats in support of transgender athletes who were born male being allowed to compete against females. But, there are plenty of Democrats who are standing with Republicans on the issue.
The Fairness in Women's Sports Act was voted on by the state Senate on Tuesday and four Democrats joined 25 Republicans in an overwhelming show of support from the chamber - 29 to 6 - in advancing the legislation to the state House.
Senate Bill 44 prohibits transgender females from competing against females. It "require(s) that schools designate intercollegiate, interscholastic, or intramural athletic teams according to the biological sex of the team members; to provide that teams designated for females are not open to participation by biological males; to provide immunity protections for schools from certain adverse actions; to provide for causes of action; to provide for legislative findings; to provide for definitions; to provide for remedies; and to provide for related matters."
Of the four Democrats to break from the party, two of them are the only female Democrats in the Senate - Regina Barrow and Katrina Jackson.
Another female - Republican Senator Beth Mizell - authored the bill again this year despite Governor John Bel Edwards' veto of similar legislation in 2021. She addressed that in her message to the Senate.
“I’m sorry, we’re having to ask for you to do it again,” Mizell said in this lailluminator.com article. “This could have easily been done last year, but here we are.”
It is important to note that not only did Edwards veto the bill last year, calling it "mean-spirited" and "a solution looking for a problem," but lawmakers failed to override Edwards' veto during a veto session.
Citing a statewide poll that shows over 80% support for her bill, Mizell pointed to tournaments across the country that allowed transgender athletes to compete against females and the huge advantage she says they have.
"Biological females placed second and third in tournaments that had been always a woman’s sport," Mizell pointed out according to kvpi.com. "We learned that the winning teams of Olympic women’s finalists could not even meet qualifying times for high school boys’ sports. We also learned that the NCAA has hosted events in 10 of the states that have passed bills almost identical to this, disproving the whole concern that we would not have NCAA events in Louisiana."
Democrat Jay Luneau voted against Mizell's bill and says the Louisiana High School Athletic Association already has addressed the issue.
“If we pass this legislation, it is my belief that someone will file suit and that they very likely will win that suit and we will have that issue here in the State of Louisiana,” said Luneau to Louisiana Radio Network.
But Mizell says the LHSAA told her SB 44 just makes clear the language in the bill.