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Kansas bill to ban transgender student athletes will not become law

Kansas lawmakers open special session on schools
Posted at 8:08 PM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 00:00:54-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Legislation to ban transgender athletes from competing in girl’s and women’s sports will not become law in Kansas.

Lawmakers in the Kansas Senate fell one vote short of overriding Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto. The governor vetoed the bill last month, calling it “mean-spirited, divisive and (an) unnecessary piece of legislation.”

“For me it’s been a mixture of emotions because it’s been a rollercoaster,” Keaton Vaughn said. “It felt like a relief when the governor vetoed it, but then I knew there was a chance it could be overwritten.”

Vaughn submitted testimony against the bill.

RELATED: Kansas City mother fights Missouri legislature's transgender athlete ban

“I am not a student, but I am a transgender Kansan," Vaughn said. "Whenever bills like this come through, they’re attacking all trans people."

Sen. David Haley, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kansas, listened to those who opposed the bill and those who supported the measure. He initially passed on the bill, meaning he neither voted in favor of it nor against it.

“The points (were) compelling and made sense," Haley said. "They weren’t from the bizarre left or the bizarre right. They were well-reasoned constituents and I wanted to reflect their voices in my vote.”

Haley became the deciding vote on Monday, choosing not to override the Governor’s veto.

“For me it was trying to reflect upon policies that are fair and that are equitable and inclusive across our state,” Haley said. “In doing so, I felt as though I needed to leave this divisive issue at a draw.”

The bill in Kansas is similar to other measures being discussed across the country. In Missouri, lawmakers debated a similar ban when they attached the measure to another bill. Missouri lawmakers have not taken a final action.