BATON ROUGE, La (KLFY) — Louisiana lawmakers voted on Thursday to approve a bill that would ban transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams. Gov. Edwards is expected to veto this bill when it makes its way to his desk.
Senate Bill 156 is a bill that has procured controversy around it since it was introduced by Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton. Last month, Gov. Edwards called it “discriminatory” and is expected to veto it.
Supporters of the bill claim that it keeps a level playing field for high school athletes.
The vote on Thursday had a tally of 77 yeas and 17 nays.
New Orleans representative Royce Duplessis says that this bill is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist in Louisiana.
“This is a solution in search of a problem,” Duplessis said during debate on the bill.
Jefferson Parish representative Laurie Schlegel supports the bill and cited that 30 other states are also trying to pass similar bills.
“There are already 30 states trying to pass legislation like this,” Schlegel said. “We also have Tennessee, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, West Virginia, Montana that have already passed legislation.”
Advocates against Bill 156 say that instances of transgender girls trying to join girls’ sports teams are rare, and they question how enforcing this law would work.
Serena Borne, organizer of Real Name Campaign has concerns about teens being sexually harassed in the name of enforcing this law.
“You would inspect them, which is violating. It is humiliating,” Borne said. “It’s sexual assault in a lot of cases of kids.”
During Thursday’s debate, Representative Mandie Landry had a similar concern, saying it would open up student-athletes to questionable behavior from coaches.
The bill has yet to make it to the governor’s desk, but when it does he’ll have 10 days to take action.