The Senate Judiciary Committee moved a bill that would ban transgender athletes from competing on teams of the sex they identify with on Monday, May 2, 2022. The bill could go to a floor vote sometime this week. (Screenshot)

The Senate Judiciary Committee moved a bill that would ban transgender athletes from competing on teams of the sex they identify with on Monday, May 2, 2022. The bill could go to a floor vote sometime this week. (Screenshot)

Transgender sports bill ready for Senate vote

Senate Bill was moved out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday

A bill that would restrict transgender youths from competing on teams of the gender they identify with was moved out of committee Monday, setting the bill up for a vote in the Alaska State Senate in the coming days.

Senate Bill 140, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, was moved out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday and sent to the Senate Rules Committee to await a floor vote.

The bill would require athletes to disclose their gender as listed on their birth certificate, which Hughes likened to eligibility requirements for GPA and other standards athletes face. Critics have said that would violate a students right to privacy.

“I want to make it clear that every student athlete would have at least two options,” Hughes said. “The person could either play on a team with their sex assigned at birth or on a co-ed team, so we’re not banning (transgender students).”

Monday’s meeting featured testimony from Matt Sharp, attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, a national conservative legal group, who argued that federal case law had cited biological differences in favor of separating men and women’s sports.

[Applications pour into new senior facility]

“Sex has long been recognized, both in science and law, as being binary,” Sharp said, noting that intersex individuals — those with sex characteristics that don’t conform to male or female — are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The bill’s advocates said the bill is not an anti-transgender bill, but sought only women’s right to compete separately from men in sports.

The bill was moved out of committee with only one no vote, from Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, the only Democrat on the committee.

“What we have is a bill in search of a problem to solve,” Kiehl said, “We’ve created an instrument so blunt it runs afoul of Alaska’s constitution.”

Kiehl said the bill violated the right to privacy enshrined in the Alaska Constitution and would likely run into conflict with federal law.

Hughes and Sens. Roger Holland, R-Anchorage, the committee chair, and Robert Myers, R-North Pole, also voted for the bill. Sen. Mike Shower, R-Wasilla, was absent from the committee vote but is listed as a co-sponsor on the bill.

Similar bills have passed in other states. In March, Iowa banned transgender females from participating in high school and college sports and the Associated Press reported in April the Missouri House of Representatives passed a similar bill. According to AP, the issue has become of focus for many Republicans, some of whom have used the issue to attack Republican rivals.

The end of the legislative session is May 17, and if the bill does pass the Republican-controlled Senate, it’s unlikely to make it through the House of Representatives, which is controlled by a largely Democratic bipartisan coalition.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.

More in News

Central Emergency Services staff wait to receive doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna, borough to continue 911 dispatch partnership

The assembly approved an agreement Tuesday

Alaska State Troopers logo.
ATV accident leaves teen dead in Ninilchik

A 15-year-old girl was driving an ATV with a 14-year-old female passenger

Cook Inlet can be seen at low tide from North Kenai Beach on June 15, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Comment period on proposed Cook Inlet lease sale opens Friday

Cook Inlet is one of 11 locations described in the department’s Proposed Program for the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program

Pottery pieces are displayed as a part of the Kenai Potters’ Guild July show at the Kenai Art Center on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Throwing together

Potters’ Guild artists show off their clay creations

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire
This photo shows boats moored at Don D. Statter Harbor on a recent sunny day. According to statistics recently release by the U.S. Coast Guard, boating accidents were down in Alaska in 2021.
Boating fatalities trending down for 2021

Numbers met expectations, said safety instructors

Fishermen took to the mouth of the Kasilof River for opening day of dipnetting, on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion file)
Kasilof dipnetting expanded, sockeye catch upped

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued multiple advisory announcements for sport anglers and dipnetters

Signs warn Fred Meyer customers to prepay if they thing they may go over limits while pumping gas on Friday, March 11, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Analysis: Inflation is up in Alaska

Alaska’s 2021 average inflation rate was the largest annual price increase since 1990

Mount Redoubt can be seen acoss Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Offshore oil plan envisions a single Cook Inlet sale

The proposed 2023-2028 plan is similar to the just-ended Obama administration five-year plan

People line the streets in downtown Kenai, Alaska on Monday, July 4, 2022 for the annual Independence Day parade. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Red, white and blue all day

Kenai turns out for parade, activities to celebrate Independence Day

Most Read