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Lawmakers send anti-trans sports bill to the governor

A series of circles show the bills path through the legislature. Nine of those circles are colored green, showing it has passed committees and multiple readings in each chamber. The final circle, labeled "signed by governor" is yellow, indicating the bill is here, awaiting a signature.
Jeff Victor
Wyoming Public Media/Jeff Victor
Senate File 133 passed in both chambers and now awaits the governor's signature or veto. Senators voted to approved the House's latest version today.

The Wyoming Legislature has passed a bill banning trans girls and women from competing in high school and middle school sports.

Senate File 133 advanced out of the Wyoming House Wednesday, Feb. 28 completing its journey through the legislature and putting it one step closer to becoming law. Senators and representatives agreed on a final version Thursday, March 2, sending the bill to the governor's desk.

The bill would ban trans girls and women from joining female-designated sports teams from seventh grade upward. The bill does not ban trans boys and men from any sports.

Sponsor Senator Wendy Schuler (R-Evanston) has said the bill is about fairness.

"And so fairness goes out the window if they're allowed to compete against females in the female lane," she told the House Education Committee as it considered the bill last week.

But opponents said a total ban was too harsh and that the topic deserves nuance.

During the same committee meeting, Santi Murillo, a former University of Wyoming athlete, said there's a great deal of diversity among the human race and that it's inaccurate to say men and trans women are inherently bigger, stronger or faster than cisgender women. Murillo also said transitioning isn't easy, and the people who take it on are doing so sincerely.

"I don't think anyone is going to lie about being trans just to gain some sort of athletic advantage," she said.

The bill has been amended several times during its journey. Originally, the bill applied to all grades, then just high school, and now to high school plus 7th and 8th graders.

The ban would be overseen by a Wyoming High School Activities Association (WHSAA) committee. Lawmakers disagreed about whether WHSAA has the authority to rule in cases involving 7th and 8th graders, but the amendment adding those grades ultimately passed with a 42-19 vote in the House.

The bill itself then passed 51-10 in the House and the Senate voted today to approve the House's version with a 27-3 vote. It will now head to Gov. Mark Gordon for his signature or veto.

Jeff is a part-time reporter for Wyoming Public Media, as well as the owner and editor of the Laramie Reporter, a free online news source providing in-depth and investigative coverage of local events and trends.
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