Kansas Republicans have passed a law that transgender activists are calling one of the “most sweeping and restrictive transgender bathroom bills in U.S. history.”
House Republicans overrode Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s bill veto on Thursday with a vote of 84-40. The state’s Senate did the same on Wednesday, with a vote of 28-12.
The bill, Senate Bill 180, states that an individual’s “sex” means their biological sex, either male or female, at birth. It adds that “a ‘female’ is an individual whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce ova, and a ‘male’ is an individual whose biological reproductive system is developed to fertilize the ova of a female.”
It further says that “distinctions between the sexes” in specific spaces “are substantially related to the important governmental objectives of protecting the health, safety and privacy of individuals in such circumstances.”
For this reason, many spaces designated for women will now exclude biological men who self-identify as women. It applies to school restrooms, locker rooms, prisons, domestic violence shelters, and rape crisis centers.
After vetoing the bill, Governor Kelly claimed that the legislation would hurt the state’s economy.
“Companies have made it clear that they are not interested in doing business with states that discriminate against workers and their families,” Kelly wrote. “By stripping away rights from Kansans and opening the state up to expensive and unnecessary lawsuits, these bills would hurt our ability to continue breaking economic records and landing new business deals.”
Governor Kelly responded to the veto override in a Twitter post on Thursday.
I’m disappointed some legislators are eager to force through extremist legislation that will hurt our economy and tarnish our reputation as the Free State. I strive every day to make Kansas a place where more people want to work and raise a family.
— Governor Laura Kelly (@GovLauraKelly) April 27, 2023
“I promised Kansans I’d govern from the middle of the road and that I’d serve as a check on legislation that is too extreme one way or the other,” she wrote. “I’m disappointed some legislators are eager to force through extremist legislation that will hurt our economy and tarnish our reputation as the Free State. I strive every day to make Kansas a place where more people want to work and raise a family.”
The law will go into effect on July 1.
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