Friday, January 27

Ohio Senate committee passes ban on trans youth athletes

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In a hearing that lasted only a few minutes, the Primary and Secondary Education committee of the Ohio Senate passed HB 151, a bill that would prohibit transgender youth from participating in school sports.

The bill passed out of committee 5-2, with all five Republicans voting for the bill and Senators Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) and Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) voting against.

HB 151 will now go to the full Ohio Senate for consideration.

If the bill passes the Senate, it will head to Governor Mike DeWine desk for signature. DeWine had previously indicated he would veto such a bill.

“This issue is best addressed outside of government, through individual sports leagues and athletic associations, including the Ohio High School Athletic Association, who can tailor policies to meet the needs of their member athletes and member institutions,” DeWine said in a January 2021 statement.

In Wednesday’s hearing, Senator Vernon Sykes attempted to amend the bill to bring the language more in line with procedures from the Ohio High School Athletic Association. The five Republicans on the committee blocked his motion, tabling it by a vote of 5-2.

Opposition did not affect outcome

At the third hearing of the bill on Tuesday, there were 93 statements of written testimony submitted, all of which were in opposition to HB 151 even though the hearing was open to testimony both for and against the bill.

Those who testified in person in front of the committee all expressed the same sentiment of opposition.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Senator Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware), chair of the committee, said the testimony was “compelling” and might affect dialogue “down the road,” but still pushed forward the vote to pass the bill.

The actual HB 151

Officially titled “Replace Ohio Teacher Residency program with local mentorship,” HB 151 was originally designed to support Ohio’s teachers by giving them additional time for state-required assessment and expanding their mentorship opportunities.

There was again no mention in the hearing on the original language of supporting teachers.

At 10:35pm on June 1 – at the tail end of a marathon hearing and on the first day of Pride Month – Representative Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) attached the “Save Women’s Sports Act” to the bill, abandoning the entire Ohio legislative process by not having this bill go through the standard legislative procedure of being vetted through committees.

The amendment was passed after 11pm that day by a vote of 56-28, resulting in the “Save Women’s Sports Act” being attached to HB 151.

The full House then passed all of HB 151 – also by a vote of 56-28 – and sent the bill on to the Ohio Senate. 🔥

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About Author

Ken Schneck is the Editor of The Buckeye Flame. He received the 2021 Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBTQ Journalist of the Year from the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. He is the author of "Seriously, What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew" (2017), "LGBTQ Cleveland" (2018), "LGBTQ Columbus" (2019), and "LGBTQ Cincinnati" (2020). In his spare time, he is a professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University.

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