On June 22, Gov. Edwards announced he had vetoed Senate Bill 156 authored by Sen. Beth Mizell during the 2021 Regular Legislative Session. The bill, known as the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, sought to prevent transgender girls and women from participating on athletic teams or in sporting events designated for girls or women at elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools. Gov. Edwards issued the following statement:
“As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana. Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue.
Further, it would make life more difficult for transgender children, who are some of the most vulnerable Louisianans when it comes to issues of mental health. We should be looking for more ways to unite rather than divide our citizens. And while there is no issue to be solved by this bill, it does present real problems in that it makes it more likely that NCAA and professional championships, like the 2022 Final Four, would not happen in our state. For these and for other reasons, I have vetoed the bill.”
Senator Beth Mizell’s controversial SB 156, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act”, passed both chambers. The final passage in the House on May 27 was 78 yeas, 19 nays, and 8 absent. The Senate vote was 29 yeas, 6 nays, and 4 absent. It has been sent to the Governor.
During the process numerous co-authors signed onto the measure.
The measure would have required an athletic team or sporting event sponsored by an elementary, secondary, or postsecondary educational institution to be designated, based upon the biological sex of team members, as only one of the following:
(1) A males’, boys’, or men’s team;
(2) A females’, girls’, or women’s team;
(3) A coeducational or mixed team or event for students who are biological males or biological females.
SB 156 would have prohibited a team designated for females, girls, or women from being open to students who are not biologically female.