Florida lawmakers push through controversial ban on transgender kids in sports

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Using last-minute, late-at-night legislative maneuvering, Florida lawmakers pushed through a controversial ban on transgender kids in sports.

The move comes with just days left in the legislative session and little notice.

READ: Florida House passes bill to ban transgender females from competing in girls’ and women’s sports

The sudden passage is controversial, but hardly uncommon.

One of the main priorities for Florida Republicans this year was banning transgender kids from sports.

This week they accomplished it, but not without some last-minute behind-the-scenes maneuvering.

READ: Florida House set to take up ban on transgender athletes in girls’ athletics

Late Wednesday, a bill dealing with charter schools hit the house floor, and Republicans quickly tacked on the ban on transgender athletes.

It’s a ban that had failed to clear the Senate, but now had a shot if it could find its way onto a bigger, less controversial bill.

Democrats objected pointing out that the ban on transgender athletes participating in girls’ sports didn’t have anything to do with charter schools. Orlando Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith objected, and was overruled.

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The ban, which bases sports participation on a person’s sex on their birth certificate, was attached and the bill passed the house.

Then, with the sun setting on the last Wednesday of the session, the ban went back to the Senate, where it had been stalled up to this point.

Democrats again objected, but the bill moved forward, with the bill sponsor explaining how else sex would be checked by the state.

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“It does not have to be genital inspection, it could be DNA, it could be another way of checking sex at birth,” said Sen. Kelli Stargel - (R) Tampa.

The bill is now in the hands of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign it.

Meanwhile the NCAA has voiced concerns about states, including Florida, who pass these types of bans; indicating it might pull events.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.