Ohio House passes transgender athlete ban, Senate may have other ideas
Republican Jenna Powell (R - Arcanum) introduced an amendment to the bill that would ban transgender girls from competing in high school athletics.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - The floor of the Ohio House of Representatives erupted in outrage and heated debate Thursday night just moments before the chamber was set to vote on a bill that would allow NCAA athletes to earn money from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). The reason? At the last moment, Republican Jenna Powell (R - Arcanum) introduced an amendment to the bill that would ban transgender girls from competing in high school athletics.
The amendment passed in a vote of 54-40 and was added to the bill. A short time later, the bill itself passed in a 57-36 vote. The NIL bill, which originally passed the Ohio Senate in a unanimous vote, will now return to the chamber for additional debate on the new amendment and a second vote to concur (or not) with the new House version. From there, the question of whether it makes its way to the governor’s desk depends on what the Senate decides.
Notably, the Ohio General Assembly was already considering a bill, introduced by Powell, that would create the same ban. That bill, titled the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” is similar to legislation introduced in dozens of state legislatures this year. That bill, however, has been stuck in committee. This amendment, if accepted, would bypass that process and introduce the controversial ban as part of a separate bill that has broad bipartisan support.
But a curious move by the other chamber in the General Assembly may hint at trouble for the transgender ban being proposed.
Rather than take up the House’s newly amended bill to allow NCAA athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness, the Senate instead added the issue as an amendment to a completely separate bill already set for vote Thursday night.
House Bill 29 passed unanimously in the Senate, only now a bill intended to provide veteran ID cards to uniformed service members now also includes provisions to legalize sports betting in Ohio, and that NCAA NIL amendment. It will now have to go back to the House for further debate, compromise, and possibly approval.
Though members of the Senate did not explicitly state that this move was in response to the House amendment hours earlier, the fact that senators chose to attach the language of that bill to a House bill in a similar action seems more than coincidental.
Both sides of the General Assembly will need to come to some sort of compromise if they hope to send either bill to the governor’s desk, though which bills will make it and what they will look like when they get there is anyone’s guess at this point.
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