AUSTIN (KXAN) — A bill furthering the state’s transgender student-athlete ban officially passed Wednesday in the Texas Senate.
The legislation, introduced by Republican Sen. Mayes Middleton and 17 other conservative colleagues, passed by a vote of 19 in favor, 10 in opposition and two present. The proposal now heads for consideration in the Texas House of Representatives, which will also have to approve the bill before it heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.
The Senate’s version of the bill would require athletes to play on college sports teams that correspond to their sex assigned at birth. If it’s signed into law, for instance, a transgender woman would not be able to compete in female events.
Ahead of the vote, Middleton said his legislation is necessary for one reason: fairness in college sports.
“If Congress won’t stand for fairness, if our Department of Education won’t stand for fairness, if the NCAA won’t stand for fairness in women’s sports, then Texas will,” Middleton said in his remarks.
State Sen. Sarah Eckhardt, D-Travis County, stood before the chamber’s vote to voice her opposition to the proposal.
“This is another bill where we are hounding an already bullied class of Texas young people,” Eckhardt said. “Trans athletes in college competition are rare. When they do seek to compete, the NCAA has already exhibited and will continue to exhibit the expertise to level the playing field on a case-by-case basis. That is my reason for voting no on this bill.”
This legislation is an expansion of a law passed during the 2021 legislative session, which only applied to students in Texas public school sports.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick included Senate Bill 15 along with other LGBTQ+ restrictions in the list of his legislative priorities during this session. In February Gov. Greg Abbott told a crowd at a Dallas conference that he would support bills that would block transgender students from competing on sports teams that match their gender identity at the collegiate level.
“This next session we will pass a law prohibiting biological men to compete against women in college sports,” Abbott said at the event. “Women, and only women, should be competing in college or high school sports as well as representing the United States of America in our Olympic sports.”
The 88th regular legislative session is set to end on May 29.