TOPEKA (KSNT) – Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed several controversial bills Thursday, one would provide a definition for biological sex and another would prevent doctors from performing gender reassignment surgery on minors.
The governor vetoed Senate Bill 180, which supporters call the “Women’s Bill of Rights.” The bill would define biological sex in areas like restrooms, locker rooms and domestic violence centers.
Another bill that was vetoed, Senate Bill 26, would create a civil cause of action against a physician who performs childhood gender reassignment service, and require revocation of a physician’s license who performs childhood gender reassignment service.
Kelly released the following message on the bills vetoed on Thursday:
“Companies have made it clear that they are not interested in doing business with states that discriminate against workers and their families. By stripping away rights from Kansans and opening the state up to expensive and unnecessary lawsuits, these bills would hurt our ability to continue breaking economic records and landing new business deals.
“I’m focused on the economy. Anyone care to join me?”
-Gov. Laura Kelly, (D) Kansas
The governor also vetoed Senate Substitute for House Bill 2138, a bundled bill, which includes provisions that would require separate accommodations for students of each biological sex on overnight school district sponsored trips. Supporters say the bill was initially introduced over concerns from a trip in Eudora, Kansas where a girl felt uncomfortable sharing a room with a transgender student on an overnight trip. The Superintendent of the school district denied that the trip was school-sponsored, and opponents of the proposal argued that concerns had already been addressed during testimony.
Another bill that was vetoed is Senate Bill 228, which would modify procedures used when district courts commit prisoners to jail in another county and when counties contract with city jails to keep prisoners. It would require a medical examination before certain United States prisoners or city prisoners are taken into custody of a county jail. Opponents of the proposal, like the ACLU of Kansas, argued that the bill would require sheriffs to categorize individuals held in Kansas jails, which would result in “significant harm to transgender, non-binary, and intersex Kansans.”
Republican House leaders issued statements in response to the governor’s veto of the bill banning gender-affirming care for minors, and the bill defining biological sex.
Speaker Dan Hawkins (R-Wichita) issued the following statement on the governor’s veto of SB 26: “The Kansas Child Mutilation Protection Act protects kids from the life-altering, permanent effects of gender reassignment surgery. Children are not fully able to weigh the risks and consider the long-term ramifications that occur from these mutilation procedures. House Republicans are committed to putting the well-being of Kansas children ahead of extreme political ideology and experimental treatments by overriding the Governor’s veto of the Kansas Child Mutilation Protection Act.”
Senate Bill 180 is likely to have a successful override of the governor’s veto. The bill passed 28-12 in the Senate and 83-41 in the House with one Republican absent.
Kansas Capitol Bureau reached out to the Republican lawmaker who was absent on the day the House voted on the bill, Representative Samantha Poetter-Parshall, R-Paola, who said in an email last week that she will “fully intend to override the Governor’s veto.”
Speaker Dan Hawkins (R-Wichita) issued the following statement on the governor’s veto of SB 180: “With the veto of the Women’s Bill of rights, Governor Kelly has chosen to side with left-wing activists who seek to change the definition of a woman and ignore the biological differences that exist between the sexes. Ignoring these differences is reckless and exposes females to specific forms of violence, including sexual violence, and compromises the safety of female-only spaces such as restrooms, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and prisons. House Republicans believe biological females in Kansas deserve privacy, safety, and dignity in single sex spaces and are dedicated to ensuring the current laws that have historically protected that right can continue to do so.”
Kansas lawmakers return on April 26 for veto session. The House will need 84 votes to override the governor’s vetoes, and the Senate will need 27 votes to override.