TOPEKA (KSNT) – Two Kansas gubernatorial candidates both issued statements regarding a controversial bill that appeared in the 2022 Legislative session.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Senator Dennis Pyle are both on the ballot this year for the position of Kansas governor as Republican and Independent, respectively. Schmidt and Pyle both put out a statement on Thursday, Sept. 1 regarding the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act which failed to overcome a veto from Governor Laura Kelly earlier this year.

Schmidt’s statement calls for the Legislature to send the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act to his desk for signature in the first 100 days after he is sworn in as the new governor in January 2023.

“As the father of two daughters, a commonsense Kansan, and as a candidate for governor who actually listens to Kansans, I can say with no uncertainty that biological males should not be sharing locker rooms with female athletes or competing in girls’ sports. That’s why today, I am calling on the Kansas Legislature, within the first 100 days I’m in office, to send to my desk the Fairness in Women’s Sports bill that Laura Kelly twice vetoed. I will enthusiastically sign it.”

Schmidt campaign statement

Pyle agreed with Schmidt to sign the bill into law should he be sworn in as governor, but called out Schmidt for only promising to sign it into law in the first 100 days.

“Schmidt is side-stepping the issue again. 100 days is far too long, I want it as soon as possible. Schmidt knows most sessions are less than 100 days. As a senator, I voted for The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, the legislation which would have prohibited biological males from competing in girls’ sports. Derek Schmidt is coming late to the dance on this issue and dragging his feet. Was it his plan all along to use the issue for his election bid? Is this just another publicity stunt by liberal Schmidt to appeal to conservatives? If Schmidt were conservative, he would have been helping to whip the votes to override Kelly’s veto. Schmidt’s lack of action on the Act and the veto were deafening. Schmidt is very good at the do-si-do.”

Pyle campaign statement

Kelly vetoed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act and the Parent’s Bill of Rights on April 15. Had the Act passed, it would have banned transgender student-athletes from participating in women’s sports. The Act would also clarify that teams or sports designated for females, women or girls “shall not be open to students of the male sex.” Kelly gave the following statement regarding her veto decision earlier this year:

“Both Republican and Democratic Governors have joined me in vetoing similar divisive bills for the same reasons: it’s harmful to students and their families and it’s bad for business. We all want a fair and safe place for our kids to play and compete. However, this bill didn’t come from the experts at our schools, our athletes, or the Kansas State High School Activities Association. It came from politicians trying to score political points. This bill would also undoubtedly harm our ability to attract and retain businesses. It would send a signal to prospective companies that Kansas is more focused on unnecessary and divisive legislation than strategic, pro-growth lawmaking.”

Gov. Laura Kelly