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Florida's trans athlete sports ban resurfaces, now heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis

'I ask you, please, please kill this,' Sen. Victor Torres says
Posted at 11:21 AM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 11:21:03-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida's trans athlete ban is back and headed to the governor. That's after it was thought dead in the Senate, earlier this session.

The measure resurfaced Wednesday afternoon in the House, attached to a larger bill on education. The mostly Democratic opponents failed to muster enough support to stop it.

The House Speaker, Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, also shut down attempts to amend the policy due to time constraints.

The revamped ban forbids trans females in public high school or college from playing in women's sports. The gender listed on a student's birth certificate issued at or near their birth would determine eligibility.

Rep. Kaylee Tuck, R-Sebring, said she stripped the previous version's language requiring a physician’s inspection. Tuck called it a compromise.

Rep. Kaylee Tuck
State Rep. Kaylee Tuck is a sponsor of the bill.

"When I last presented this bill, one of the main issues was the invasiveness of determining biological sex," Tuck said. "We wanted to remove that invasiveness and do it by birth certificate."

Once the measure bounced to the Senate, mostly Republican supporters said it would level the playing field for female athletes.

"We're doing this so that women have the ability to participate," said Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland. "To get scholarships, to excel with other women of like strength capabilities."

Democrats urged their colleagues to vote down, calling the ban dangerous and unfair. Sen. Victor Torres, D-Kissimmee, who has a trans granddaughter, made an impassioned plea on the floor.

"I ask you, please, please kill this," Torres said. "We don't need this. We thought it was dead. Obviously, some don't care."

Sen. Victor Torres
Sen. Victor Torres made a passionate plea against the bill.

The votes were not there. The Senate approving 23-16.

DeSantis will now have to weigh signing the bill against threats from the NCAA to pull championship games from the state, potentially costing millions in economic impact.

Earlier this session, the Republican governor rebuffed those threats telling companies and organizations to essentially mind their businesses.

With his pen, the policy would take effect July 1 of this year.