Nearly one month ago, the bill dealing with transgender athletes competing in sports in Louisiana called the Fairness in Women's Sports Act was voted on by the state Senate, breezing through the legislative body.

As a matter of fact, the bill passed with important bipartisan support including the only female Democrats in the Senate - Regina Barrow and Katrina Jackson. Two other Democrats joined Republicans as the legislation passed 29-6 in the Senate, advancing it to the state House.

Senate Bill 44 prohibited 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."

unsplash via Jeffrey F Lin
unsplash via Jeffrey F Lin

Well, the Senate bill was heard in the House on Tuesday. You will notice that I highlighted the phrase "intramural athletic teams" in the description of the bill. I did so because legislation has been amended to remove intramural sports from the language. Everything else stays the same.

For this reason, the bill is being sent back to the Senate where legislators must approve that amendment.

“I’m sorry we’re having to ask for you to do it again,” Republican Senator Beth Mizell has said to lawmakers, according to this article. Mizell authored the bill again this year despite Governor John Bel Edwards' veto of similar legislation in 2021. “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.

"What’s become more apparent this year is the need to protect women’s sports,” said Metairie Representative Laurie Schlegel in this Louisiana Radio Network article. She presented the bill in the House.

Mizell and Schlegel point to tournaments across the country that allowed transgender athletes to compete against females and the huge advantage they say these athletes have had.

"Biological females placed second and third in tournaments that had been always a woman’s sport," Mizell pointed out according to "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."

“When these kids hear about legislation like this we’re doing nothing more than hurting them," said Shreveport Representative Sam Jenkins in opposition. "These children - our children - will only see this an attack,” said Jenkins, who views the bill as an attack on vulnerable transgender children.

Nevertheless, the amended bill passed the Louisiana House by a 72-21 vote and heads back to the Senate once again.

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