Senate overrides veto on trans athletes, parent bill of rights


Kansas Home Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe

Topeka Capital-Journal/Related Press file

A two-thirds majority of the Kansas Senate voted Tuesday to override Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto on a bill banning transgender college students from women sports activities in addition to a bill making certain mother and father can view and problem classroom content material.

However the payments’ probabilities of turning into legislation are removed from sure.

It’s unclear if and when the Kansas Home will take up the measures or in the event that they’ll have the 84 votes wanted. The chamber was 10 votes brief of a veto-proof majority when it handed the bill earlier this month.

“This week we don’t, we still have members missing,” Home Speaker Ron Ryckman mentioned Tuesday when requested whether or not he had adequate votes to move the overrides. “We’ll have some time to revisit both those issues with our members.”

Ryckman mentioned he hopes to deliver the problems for a vote earlier than the Legislature’s 30-day deadline and should name the Home again within the coming weeks to vote.

Tom Witt, government director of Equality Kansas, mentioned Ryckman’s feedback indicated he deliberate to spend the following a number of weeks “bullying” lawmakers into altering their votes.

“They don’t have enough votes to override the veto and they know it and they’re going to spend the next couple of weeks twisting people’s arms and threatening them,” Witt mentioned.

The Senate handed each the bill banning transgender athletes from women sports activities and the mother and father bill of rights with a veto-proof majority.

Within the Senate’s sixth debate on the transgender athletes ban within the final two years, lawmakers repeated arguments they’ve constantly made. Proponents mentioned the bill would guarantee truthful competitors, saying transgender athletes have an unfair benefit.

Opponents mentioned the bill places transgender college students in danger.

“This bill shreds personal privacy and health care privacy rights,” mentioned Sen. Tom Holland, a Baldwin Democrat.

Following the vote, Senate President Ty Masterson wouldn’t predict whether or not the override would succeed within the Home.

“I’m very proud of our chamber,” Masterson mentioned. “I was very pleased. Quite frankly until the vote was cast I wasn’t sure how it was going to land.”

Brittany Jones, a lobbyist for Kansas Household Voice — a principal proponent of each payments — mentioned she wasn’t but involved that the Home hadn’t scheduled a vote.

“We feel pretty decent that if the leadership decides to run ‘save girls sports,’ we can get there,” Jones mentioned, referring to a reputation proponents’ use for the coverage. “I want them to take a vote at some point. At this point because I don’t know what the schedule is. I’m not super concerned about what the timing will look like.”

Witt mentioned management is solely thinking about bullying, as evidenced, he mentioned, by an absence of response to Mulvane Rep. Cheryl Helmer’s feedback disparaging Rep. Stephanie Byers, the primary transgender lawmaker in Kansas.

Witt, on behalf of Equality Kansas, despatched Ryckman and different members of Home management a letter demanding disciplinary motion towards Helmer.

The mother and father bill of rights proposal got here as Republican candidates nationwide push for instructional transparency, following anger over COVID-19 restrictions and the way matters like race and LGBTQ rights are taught in colleges.

The bill codifies 12 “rights” for fogeys and requires public college districts to develop processes by which oldsters can problem supplies. Advocates argue that the bill would be sure that colleges throughout the state uniformly grant mother and father involvement of their kids’s schooling.

“How are parents involved in that educational, that vital role of parental engagement? What we have happening, we saw that occurring right here in this area of the state, we have parents that have been turned away by school boards, by educators, because they’re asking questions,” Sen. Molly Baumgardner, a Louisburg Republican, mentioned. “Because they want to see the materials that will be provided to their minor children.”

Opponents, together with many educators, have argued that folks already benefit from the rights that lawmakers have sought to determine, together with gaining access to college board conferences and a capability to see and query studying and studying supplies.

Kelly beforehand referred to as the measure a “teacher demoralization act.”

Nationally and throughout the state, some mother and father have been difficult library books, most of which have racial or LGBTQ themes, deeming them too graphic or inappropriate for college kids. Underneath the mother and father bill of rights, any parent may problem the fabric or instructional profit of any guide accessible in a college library.

“This bill creates division in our schools in a time where we are emerging from a pandemic. Puts even more workload on overworked educators when we are facing a teacher workforce shortage,” Sen. Jeff Pittman, a Leavenworth Democrat, mentioned. “This bill incentivizes book bans at a time when kids have almost unlimited access to content on the internet. It limits critical thinking activities and has empty processes and transparency already in existence.”

The Star’s Jonathan Shorman contributed to this story.

Associated tales from Kansas Metropolis Star

Katie Bernard covers the Kansas Legislature and state authorities for the Kansas Metropolis Star. She joined the Star as a breaking information reporter in Might of 2019 earlier than transferring to the politics crew in December 2020. Katie studied journalism and political science on the College of Kansas.

Sarah Ritter covers Okay-12 schooling for The Kansas Metropolis Star. Previously a reporter for the Quad-Metropolis Instances, Sarah is a graduate of Augustana Faculty.

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