Kentucky House bans older transgender athletes

The Kentucky House on Thursday advanced a measure that would ban transgender girls from participating in school sports that match their gender identity from sixth grade through college. Because the Republican-backed bill was amended in the House, it now returns to the Senate for approval.

According to the proposal, a student’s gender for the purposes of determining athletic eligibility would be determined by “the student’s certified birth certificate as originally issued at the time of birth or adoption. “.

If it becomes law, Kentucky will join a growing number of GOP-dominated states passing similar bans, though the bans have been challenged in several states as violations of federal law. In nearly each of these states, the sponsors were unable to cite a single instance in their own state or region where such participation caused problems.

American Civil Liberties Union Kentucky spokesman Samuel Crankshaw in a statement called the measure “a solution in search of a non-existent problem.”

“If this becomes law, it will jeopardize the mental health, physical well-being and ability of our children to access educational opportunities comparable to those of their peers,” Crankshaw said.

Kentucky lawmakers also voted on Thursday to replace Kentucky State University’s board of trustees. Under the new legislation, Democratic Governor Andy Beshear would be required to appoint eight new board members by April 4.

The bill, which received bipartisan support in both houses, is now heading to the governor.

KSU, the state’s only historically black public university, has remained under state surveillance since last summer, when concerns about the school’s finances and lawsuits alleging misconduct by officials on campus have reached their climax.

A state report, commissioned by Beshear, later found evidence of financial mismanagement by university management, resulting in financial losses from 2018-19.

Senate Pro Tem President David Givens said last week that a new board of trustees must “be in place and confirmed by the Senate” before the university receives the $23 million that officials described as vital to the survival of the school.

Meanwhile, a Kentucky Senate panel introduced a bill that would ban the use of the death penalty for certain defendants diagnosed with serious mental illnesses.

The measure passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee without any resistance. If the full Senate passes the bill without amendments, the measure would go to Beshear. He won House passage by a wide margin last month. Republicans have overwhelming majorities in both houses.

Last year, a similar bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate. Since then, the bill’s main supporters have consulted with leading senators while crafting the new version.

Under this year’s bill, the death penalty ban would apply to defendants with a documented history – including a diagnosis by a mental health professional – of certain mental disorders and who exhibited symptoms active at the time of the offence. Disorders include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, and delusional disorder.

“That doesn’t mean they’ll be free,” said Republican Rep. Chad McCoy, the bill’s lead sponsor. “It doesn’t mean they won’t be punished. It just means it will be life in prison without parole.”

Republican Senator Danny Carroll thanked the bill’s sponsors for the revisions.

“Over the past few years when we’ve had this bill, my concern has always been the state of mind (of the accused) at the time the crime occurs,” he said. “I think you all have touched on this question.”

The last execution in Kentucky was in 2008.


Hudspeth Blackburn is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues.

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