OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The Kansas Legislature will likely debate two Republican measures once again next week, just after vetoes from Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.
Kansas’ Democratic governor vetoed a ban on transgender athletes in girls’ and women’s sports. She also vetoed a bill that would have established a so called “Parents Bill of Rights.”
When lawmakers return to Topeka next week, Republicans will need to override her veto of those bills with two-thirds majorities in both chambers.
“It’s going to be very close. There’s no doubt,” Republican State Sen. Mike Thompson said Monday when asked if Republicans will have enough votes to override the governor’s vetoes.
“We didn’t have a large enough vote to override the veto. I think one was 25 and one was 24, and we need 27, so it’s going to be close. I’m sure we’ll be working with some of those senators who are on the bubble to try to entice them to override the veto.”
Democratic State Sen. Cindy Holscher said a ban on transgender athletes in girls’ and women’s sports would be an overreach on the legislature’s part.
She believes there’s just one athlete in the entire state who’d no longer be able to compete in girls’ sports. A spokesman with the Kansas State High School Activities Association confirmed that number with FOX4 Monday.
“It seems like we’ve spent a whole lot of time on a couple of situations that really aren’t even pertinent to the majority of our classrooms when undoubtedly we have other situations such as a potential teacher shortage, and almost no time has been spent talking about that,” Holscher said Monday. “That’s going to hurt all of our kids substantially if we don’t get that situation remedied.”
The “Parents Bill of Rights” would give parents the right to inspect curriculum, instructional materials or any other materials used to teach children at school.
Parents would have the right to challenge any material or educational material of any book. If the challenge is successful, it would allow for the removal of the book, magazine or material from the school.
“With the Parents Bill of Rights, with that type of legislation, it’s essentially locked in. Everything is being put out there that’s for the year in advance,” Holscher said.
“So another pertinent example is the situation with Ukraine that recently happened. Under the Parents Bill of Rights, you can’t deviate from what is already out there that’s supposed to be taught, so the timeliness of talking to students about that type of situation would be lost.”
But Thompson said parents should have more of a say in what’s taught in their children’s school.
“The aim of the bill is good. Transparency is always good and considering it’s public education, and we’re paying for it, I think it’s a good thing,” he said.
Kansas lawmakers are on their annual spring break but are scheduled to go back to Topeka on Monday, April 25.