BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — A bill that would keep transgender athletes from participating on all-girls sports teams is making its way through the Louisiana Senate.
SB 156, authored by State Sen. Beth Mizell (R-Franklinton), would “require that schools designate intercollegiate, interscholastic, or intramural athletic teams according to the biological sex of the team members and provide that teams designated for females are not open to participation by biological males.”
You can read the bill here.
A similar piece of legislation, HB 542, has been proposed in the Louisiana House of Representatives.
“A lot of the efforts in the past have been to level the playing field for women in sports,” Mizell said, “and I see this as a continuous of that effort.”
While Sen. Mizell says she is trying to protect women’s sports, critics say the bills are anti-transgender.
“They’re not proposing these bills in good faith,” said Adrienne Critcher, Political and Communications Director for PACE.
Critcher says the bills are solutions in search of a problem.
“They want to create a boogeyman because they really have other agenda’s in mind that they’d like for you to ignore while they scare you with problems that just do not exist,” Critcher said.
Mizell admits she doesn’t know of a transgender female competing in female sports, but says she is introducing this bill as a preemptive measure.
“If we’re preventing a situation that would create a really uncomfortable situation before it can happen, then I believe that’s a good thing,” Mizell said.
The bills also pose another issue. New Orleans is currently set to host the 2022 Final Four, an event that could bring millions of dollars to the state, but the NCAA says that could be in jeopardy if this legislation passes.
In a statement, the NCAA Board of Directors said in part “NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected.”
Mizell said the move from the NCAA isn’t swaying her decision to move forward with the bill.
“This is extortion as far as I can see,” Mizell said. “The NCAA does not tell the state of Louisiana what to think any more then they would on any other issue.”