Savannah Hulsey Pointer, FISM News
The State of Missouri’s House of Representatives has passed a bill that governs the participation of transgender-identifying students in school sports, as well as photo identification voting laws to govern all elections in the state.
A report by Just The News indicated that the omnibus elections bill would allow voters to decide if transgender students would be able to participate in sports, as well as whether photo IDs should be required when voting.
“Believe it or not, this bill is about elections,” said Rep. Peggy McGaugh (R-Carrollton), sponsor of HB2140, which passed 96-47 according to Just The News. “We got off the subject a little bit when we perfected this bill. But I want to tell you many of the good things in this bill, because there’s been a lot of talk about some controversial things.”
The House passed the bill Monday night in a vote of 93 to 4, according to KSDK St. Louis. In its current form, the bill allows school districts to adopt their own provisions for allowing male students to participate or be banned from sports designated for females, based on their biological gender, as long as the policy is approved by the school district’s voters.
The lawmaker’s bill received bipartisan support during committee hearings before transgender-identifying students and photo IDs were brought into the discussion, with Rep. Kevin Windham (D-Hillsdale) lashing out at the legislation, saying, “If you’re looking for the good in this bill, it’s like looking for a piece of hay in a stack of needles.”
Fellow GOP Rep. Dan Shaul, however, supported the measure, saying that the House legislation was the result of listening to citizens’ concerns.
“Most importantly, it has what the people of this state want, and that’s photo ID,” Shaul said. “Yes, they want to make sure when you vote that it’s you voting and that your vote counts just as much as everyone else. … I will tell you this is the most comprehensive election integrity bill that we’ve produced in this chamber.”
Transgender students seemed to be the key issue for Democrats, however, and two student organizations at the University of Missouri-Columbia protested the bill, according to KSDK. “I think the amendment sends a poor message to the trans community as a whole,” said 34-year-old Michaela Kraemer, the Administrative Assistant at Metro Trans Umbrella Group in south St. Louis.
“I think it’s kind of disgusting that they’re picking on trans youth. I think the lawmakers need to discuss and legislate on our civil rights, our dignity as human beings and the fact that we don’t have equal rights now,” said Michaela Kraemer.
“As a member of the LGBTQ community, this is an issue that I take personally,” Rep. Ian Mackey (D-St. Louis) told reporters after the vote. “I understand that we all come to the building with different ideas of how to spend billions of dollars, and we represent constituents who have different opinions on how to spend that money. … Those are the debates we’re supposed to be having. But this issue does not present a reasonable debate. There is no gray area on how you treat human beings. There is no gray area when it comes to equality.”
However, Rep. Ron Copeland (R-Salem) spoke to a sentiment voiced by parents across the country when he said, “What is my daughter supposed to do when she’s playing against a six-foot-four transgender male?”