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Gov. Reynolds signs bill banning transgender girls from girls' sports

The new law applies to women and girls at public schools, accredited non-public schools and colleges in the state.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law Thursday barring transgender women and girls from participating in women's and girls' sports after it passed the Iowa Senate along party lines Wednesday.

The new law applies to public schools, accredited non-public schools and colleges in the state.

Republicans have largely supported the bill, and Reynolds previously spoke out in support of similar legislation.

"I think at the end of the day it's the responsibility and legislature to make sure that we are protecting girls' sports," House Speaker Pat Grassley said in February. "And I just think that again, that's something that this bill is able to achieve that in a very clear manner following the path of a lot of other states."

"To be sure, there are legitimate concerns on both sides of this issue about fairness in athletics, and reasonable people can disagree about how we draw these lines around participation," said Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls, D-Coralville. "But the bill we are debating today is not a reasonable conversation about where to draw the lines - this bill is a political wedge being used to divide us."

Credit: AP
Iowa Safe Schools Executive Director Becky Smith speaks to reporters against a bill that prohibits transgender females from participating in girls high school sports and women's college athletics after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed it into law at the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday, March 3, 2022. (AP Photo/David Pitt)

Iowa State Education Association President Mike Beranek said the legislation is "designed to divide and punish" and an attempt to distract from underfunding.

“This bill discriminates against students and singles out school employees and faculty for punishment," Beranek said. "It is a hateful attempt to intimidate both students and the education professionals helping them succeed."

LGBTQ organization One Iowa Action released a statement Wednesday condemning the bill's passage, which read in part, "Being excluded from sports can be devastating to already vulnerable transgender youth given that sports can play an invaluable part of students’ physical, social, and emotional well-being."

The law is now in effect.

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