The two biggest legislative sports discussions in the United States happened at once Thursday in the Ohio House of Representatives.
While discussing the college athletes’ name, image and likeness bill that already passed through the Ohio Senate, the Ohio House added an amendment that would prohibit transgender women from competing in women’s sports.
According to WCMH-TV, an NBC affiliate in Columbus, there was heated debate, including representatives pounding their desks while representative Jena Powell read the transgender amendment, before the bill passed the House, 57-36, with Democrats in opposition. The amendment was added on a 54-40 vote.
“We have different body mass, a different muscle mass, a different bone structure, different lung capacities and yes the big item in the room, we have menstrual cycles which compromise our abilities to meet maximum performance on any given day and athletic competition,” representative Jean Schmidt said.
“Make no mistake, this isn’t about protecting girls — it’s about pushing an outdated and bigoted ideology that hurts trans people and sends the message that LGBTQ Ohioans aren’t welcome on the field, on the court, or as valued members of our community,” representative Lisa Sobecki said. “It’s a shame that this amendment tainted an otherwise good bill to empower collegiate athletes.”
The amended bill will need to pass through the Ohio Senate again before it goes to governor Mike DeWine.
“I continue to strongly pursue legislation to ensure student-athletes receive in law their rights to their own name, image, and likeness by the July 1, 2021, deadline,” senator Niraj Antani said. “I am optimistic in my prospects, and I will continue to work hard to get this done for our student-athletes.”
Name, image and likeness laws allowing college student-athletes to profit are scheduled to go into effect in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico and Tennessee on July 1.