Louisiana lawmakers reject bill to limit transgender youth in sports

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Baton Rouge, Louisiana — Lawmakers on a Louisiana House committee Tuesday narrowly refused to advance a proposal to prohibit transgender athletes from competing on girls' sports teams in schools.

By a one-vote margin, the House Education Committee rejected the bill by Houma Republican Representative Beryl Amedee. Five lawmakers on the panel voted for the measure, while six voted against it. Two Republicans joined Democrats on the committee in opposing the proposal.

That vote isn't certain to end the debate for the legislative session, however. A similar proposal by Senator Beth Mizell, the Senate's second-ranking Republican, awaits debate on the Senate floor after winning the backing of that chamber's education committee.

Supporters of the proposals said they are trying to protect female athletes from unfair competition. Opponents call the measures discriminatory. Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, opposes the bill and other measures targeting transgender youth.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association already has taken a position that student-athletes “shall compete in the gender of their birth certificate unless they have undergone sex reassignment.”

Voting for the bill Tuesday were Amedee and Representatives Rick Edmonds, from Baton Rouge; Chuck Owen, from Rosepine; Vinney St. Blanc, of Franklin; and Phillip Tarver, of Lake Charles.

Voting against the bill were Representatives Ken Brass, Vacherie; Aimee Freeman, of New Orleans; Barbara Freiberg, of Baton Rouge; Stephanie Hilferty, from New Orleans; Patrick Jefferson, of Homer; and Tammy Phelps, from Shreveport.

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