AUSTIN, TX — As Texas Legislators return for the special session today, one item outlined on Governor Abbott's agenda - is reviving Senate Bill 29.
This bill would require the University Interscholastic League (UIL) to mandate that students play on sports teams based on the gender assigned at birth, rather than their gender identity.
“Women and girls have been fighting for equity in sports for decades and their achievements have been great. SB 29 will ensure that in the Lone Star State, women and girls’ sports will continue to thrive because those athletes will not be forced to compete against men and boys who have an unfair advantage," wrote Lt. Gov Dan Patrick following the bill's passing in the Senate.
Lead by state Rep. Harold Dutton (D), the House Public Education Committee originally failed to advance the bill after state Rep. Dan Huberty (R) did not show up to vote and Dutton himself, abstained from voting.
However, the following day, the bill managed to pass the committee, 8-5, after being voted on again; this time, with both Rep. Dutton and Rep. Huberty voting in favor.
According to the Texas Tribune, this move came as retaliation to his fellow House Democrats, after Rep. Dutton's bill was blocked by Rep. Alma Allen.
“The bill that was killed last night affected far more children than this bill ever will. So as a consequence, the chair moves that SB 29 as substituted be reported favorably to the full House with the recommendation that it do pass,” said Rep. Dutton the day after House Bill 3270 was struck down.
Rep. Dutton's revised version of SB 29 would prohibit trans student-athletes from competing on sports teams, "designated for the sex opposite to the student’s sex as correctly stated” on their birth certificate.
At the time of this publication, UIL determines a student's gender by their birth certificate - which some transgender students are able to amend.
Rep. Dutton's revision would end this ability.
The GOP priority bill would ultimately fail to meet the final midnight deadline for advancing Senate bills in the Texas House, after Democrats managed to run the clock out.
Those who supported SB 29, say this legislation will prevent unfair advantages in sports, citing testosterone levels in trans female athletes.
Those who were against the bill, say it not only discriminates against trans athletes - but cisgender female athletes as well.
Some College Station residents are expressing this very concern, stating the negative impact this could have on female athletes of color.
"Heather Gotthard, an endurance runner from Austin. A lot of people came after her because she has a more 'masculine' appearance and a more 'masculine' build. So they made an assumption that she was a trans woman because her appearance didn't fit into a hyper-feminine and often very sexist definition of what a female athlete should look like," shared Frey Miller, President of Texas A&M's Transcend organization.
Be sure to stick with KRHD News throughout the day, as we have crews live in Austin that will have the latest details and developments from the state capital.
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