Day 40 of the Georgia legislative session sees a flurry of activity as bills try to make final passage before midnight. However, at the eleventh hour inside the Georgia House of Representatives, House Bill 1084 was originally designed to provide additional oversight for high school sports. Rep. Will Wade introduced the bill at the late hour, promising it was a simple change that would be an easy vote.
However, language introduced by the state senate included banning transgender sports, banning the participation of transgender boys in past women’s sports by a 98-71 margin. However, the legislation does not prevent girls who identify as non-binary from participating in men’s sporting events.
The bill is now heading to Governor Brian Kemp’s office for his signature.
State Rep. Matthew Wilson, D-Brookhaven, was quick to voice his opposition, saying Republicans had slipped a ban on transgender sports into the text of the legislation.
“Passing this bill would be inconsistent with the theme the House has adopted this session, which is to promote the mental health of Georgians,” Wilson said. “This bill targets the most vulnerable Georgians, transgender youth it puts us on the wrong side of history and morals. But also, on the wrong side of the dispute.
State Representative Park Cannon immediately asked the House to reconsider passing the bill. The motion to reconsider the bill failed.
“Well, we’re not targeting them because it will be a GHSA decision,” said House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge. “And while I’m going to communicate to them that I don’t want them to be targeted, and I hope that’s not the case.”
Expect House Bill 1084 to be argued in Georgia courts sooner rather than later.
Earlier in the evening, Governor Kemp addressed the House and touted the agenda he set for himself eighty-one days ago during his State of the State address.
Kemp said the House agreed to an additional Georgia State Trooper class of seventy-five cadets and pay raises for state law enforcement. Additionally, Kemp praised himself for pushing news legislation that adds human trafficking to the list of serious violent and sexual offenses that require a superior court judge to grant bail.
However, what Kemp did not say Monday was his support for the Parents’ Bill of Rights, Fairness in School Sports and the Legislature to “deal with obscene materials online and in our school libraries.” .
The legislature, which is controlled by the Republican Party, largely delivered on Kemp’s promises this legislative session. However, President Ralston was quick to inform reporters that the state itself cannot enforce the transgender ban.
“I think this is a decision that GHSA needs to make in consultation with member schools,” Ralston said.
Ralston’s relationship with Governor Kemp appears to be strong after a period where he watched the governor come under attack from GOP members under the Gold Dome and out of state.
“I think sometimes there are growing pains in this relationship,” Ralston explained. “But look, this governor suffered a lot of abuse, and we know where that came from, and he went on and, you know, he governs. He’s not just here, you know, making speeches, and you know, I kind of admire that.