Kansas House upholds Gov.’s veto on Parents’ Bill of Rights, Fairness in Women’s Sports Act
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Both the Parents’ Bill of Rights and the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act have died in the Kansas House, upholding Governor Laura Kelly’s vetoes.
On Thursday, April 28, Senate Bills 58 and160 both died in the Kansas Legislature following failed House votes to override Governor Laura Kelly’s vetoes for both.
On April 15, Gov. Kelly vetoed SB 58, the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which would codify parents’ rights in their student’s education. The bill would have required districts to allow parents to be informed of and inspect any educational materials and activities, inspect and review all educational and health records of the parents’ child, object to learning material that would harm or impair a family’s religious beliefs or values and challenge materials available to students in the library which could result in the materials’ removal from the school.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted 27-12 to override the Governor’s veto, however, on Thursday, the House voted 72-50 which failed. A two-thirds vote in both the Senate and House are required to override a veto. While the Senate vote met that requirement, the House missed the mark by 12 votes. The vote was largely along party lines with only 13 Republicans voting to veto and not a single Democrat voting to override the veto.
Three members abstained from this vote - William Sutton (R-Gardner), Lindsay Vaughn (D-Overland Park) and Ponka-We Victors (D-Wichita).
This bill was introduced in the Senate on Jan. 21 and referred to the Committee on Judiciary, which sponsored the bill. It passed through the Senate with a unanimous emergency final action vote. It was then sent to the House where it unanimously passed on a final action vote.
Proponents of this bill said it would give parents a greater ability to decide what is taught to their children, while opponents said it would ban opportunities to learn.
Also on April 15, Kelly vetoed SB 160, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which would require student-athletes to join a team that relates to their biological sex, unless the team has been deemed a coed team.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted 28-10 to override the veto, however, on Thursday, the House voted 81-41 which also failed, this time by only three votes. This vote also fell along party lines with all but two Democrats and only four Republicans voting to hold the Governor’s veto.
The same three members also abstained from this vote.
Proponents of this bill said it would create a more equal playing field in women’s sports as those who are born biologically male have an advantage over those born biologically female. Meanwhile, opponents said the rule would be redundant as entities such as the Kansas High School Athletics Association already have rules to circumvent this.
This bill was introduced in the Senate on Feb. 8 and was referred to the Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, which sponsored the bill. It passed through the Senate with a 38-1 vote and then onto the House and its Committee on Agriculture and passed through with 120-2 vote.
Both bills have been highly contested and divided on party lines.
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