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Utah Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto of Bill Banning Biological Males From Female Sports

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The Utah House overrode Gov. Spencer Cox’s veto of a bill that bans biological males from participating in female sports.

The bill, H.B. 11, “imposes limits on participation in female sports by requiring schools and local education agencies to designate athletic activities by sex” and “prohibiting a student of the male sex from competing against another school on a team designated for female students.”

The law defines “sex” as “the biological, physical condition of being male or female, determined by an individuals [sic] genetics and anatomy at birth.”

The Republican-controlled House voted 56-18 to overturn Cox’s veto. The Senate quickly followed with a 21-8 vote.

Cox tweeted on Tuesday he expected the legislature to overturn his veto. He wrote, “Because the bill was substantially changed in the final hours of the legislative session with no public input and in a way that will likely bankrupt the Utah High School Athletic Association and result in millions of dollars in legal fees for local school districts with no state protection, and for several reasons below, I have chosen to veto the bill.”

Four Republicans from the Utah state House and Senate changed their vote on H.B. 11 when it came to overturning Cox’s veto.

Republican Rep. Mike Winder did not choose to overturn the veto mainly because of the costs that schools could face from lawsuits.

The Utah Legislature attended a special session to address those concerns. The DeseretNews reported:

Also on Friday, the Utah Legislature convened a separate special session called by the governor to make changes to HB11, specifically to address concerns that the bill would leave the Utah High School Activities Association and school districts financially vulnerable to costly lawsuits.

During the special session, the House voted 58-15 and the Senate 22-5 to approve HB3001, a bill that indemnifies school districts and the activities association from lawsuits associated with HB11. The bill included a one-time appropriation of $500,000 from the Utah attorney general’s budget for litigation costs.


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