Kansas Dem Gov. Laura Kelly vetoes hot-button bills, sets up showdown with GOP legislature

Kelly, a first-term governor who is up for re-election in November, accused Republican lawmakers of trying to score political points Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) on Friday vetoed several bills sought by Republicans, including one that would ban transgender girls on female sports teams, according to reports. The bill would require public schools and state colleges to categorize sports teams based on an athlete’s gender at birth. Kelly, a first-term governor who is up for re-election in November, accused Republican lawmakers of trying to score political points while arguing that the transgender athlete ban would impact the state’s ability to attract and keep businesses. “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,” Kelly, a Democrat, said, via the Kansas City Star. Republican lawmakers and Senate President Ty Masterson, (R-Andover), argued that allowing trans females to take part in sports with biological females would create unfair competitive advantages. It’s about protecting the women who worked and trained all her life and should not have her hard work wiped out by being forced to compete on unlevel playing fields,” Masterson said. At least fifteen states have enacted laws on transgender athletes, including Kentucky this week. Kelly vetoed a similar measure last year. On Friday, Kelly also vetoed another bill that would have required schools in the state to allow parents to challenge classroom materials and curriculum. She suggested the legislation was about politics and would end up in court. Kelly vetoed a third bill that would have mandated work-fare for able-bodied adults without dependents, and a fourth bill that would extend protections to health care workers. “Money that should be spent in the classroom would end up being spent in the courtroom,” she said of the classroom materials bill. Masterson argued that the governor, in an election year, was “largely controlled by the hard left.” “In recent months, the governor has been a chameleon, demonstrating election-year conversions in an attempt to fool Kansans into believing she shares their values,” Masterson said, via the Kansas Reflector. “Rather than listening to parents and female athletes, her decision to veto the Parents’ Bill of Rights and the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act demonstrate she is still largely controlled by the hard left.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . “By choosing secrecy over transparency, the governor is indicating she believes parents are the enemy and that schools have a right to hide what they are teaching our children,” Masterson added. Critics argue the measure would lead to rules getting in the way of teaching. They also believe that parents already have the ability to engage with the learning of their children. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . “We were very concerned … and we asked her to consider vetoing that,” Jim Porter, chair of the Kansas State Board of Education, said last week. Gov. Kelly’s Friday vetoes set up an override showdown when the legislature, which is overwhelmingly controlled by Republicans in both houses, returns to session on April 25.

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