‘Middle of the Road’ Gov. Kelly vetoes bills that protect women and children

(The Sentinel) — If there was ever any doubt about Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly being “middle of the road” as she claimed in campaign ads, she put that to rest last week when she vetoed four bills designed to protect women and children.

House Bill 2138 requires school districts to provide separate accommodations on overnight school trips for biological boys and biological girls.  The legislation was promoted by an incident in which the Eudora school district forced a girl to share a hotel room with a biological male, even after she requested a different room.  HB 2138 passed the state House by a vote of 84-39 and the Senate by a vote of 28-10.

Senate Bill 180, known as the Women’s Bill of Rights, requires separate facilities for biological males and biological females in athletics, prisons and detention facilities, domestic violence centers, rape crisis centers, locker rooms and restrooms.  The vote was 83-21 in the House and 28-12 in the Senate. Senate Bill 228 requires separating prisoners by their biological gender.  It passed 86-37 in the House and 33-3 in the Senate.

Senate Bill 26, titled the Child Mutilation Prevention Act, allows an individual who had gender reassignment service performed as a child to bring a civil cause of action against the physician who performed the service.  The bill also requires the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts to revoke the license of a physician who performed a childhood reassignment service.  It passed 70-52 in the House and 23-12 in the Senate.

House and Senate Leaders react to attacks on women and children

Senate President Ty Masterson and Speaker of the House Dan Hawkins did not mince words in responding to Kelly’s vetoes via press releases.

On SB 2138, Masterson said, “Requiring separate overnight accommodations for boys and girls in school-sponsored travel and separating prisoners by their biological gender is simply common sense. The fact these bills didn’t earn a quick signature demonstrates just how far off the left side of the road the governor truly is.”

Hawkins added, “Once again, our ‘middle of the road’ governor is veering dangerously left by vetoing a bill that simply requires school districts to provide separate accommodations for students of each biological sex on overnight school district-sponsored trips. This commonsense legislation is well-supported in the House, and we are ready to act so that Kansas parents can trust their children will be ensured safety and privacy while traveling with their school district.”

Hawkins says Kelly’s veto of SB 228 “puts women in danger,” and Masterson made similar comments.

On SB 26, Masterson said, “The fact the governor vetoed a bill entitled the Child Mutilation Prevention Act should tell you all you need to know about the current extreme course of the Democrats and this governor.”  Hawkins adds, “Children are not able to weigh the risks and consider the long-term ramifications that occur from these mutilation procedures.”

Hawkins says vetoing the Women’s Bill of Rights 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.”  Masterson says Kelly has “joined the most extreme element of her party in not being able to define a woman.”

Both Masterson and Hawkins promised to hold override votes on each bill this week.

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