Day 40 of the Georgia legislative session sees a flurry of activity as bills attempt final passage before midnight. However, at the eleventh hour inside the Georgia House of Representatives, House Bill 1084 was originally designed to provide additional oversight to high school sports. Representative Will Wade presented the bill at the late hour promising this was a simple change that would be an easy vote.
However, language introduced by the State Senate included the transgender sports ban, forbidding the participation of transgender boys in girls sports passed by a 98-71 margin. However, the legislation does not prevent girls that identify as non-binary from competing in boys sporting events.
The bill now heads to Governor Brian Kemp’s desk for his signature.
State Rep. Matthew Wilson, D-Brookhaven, quickly voiced his opposition saying the Republicans slid the transgender sports ban into the text of the legislation.
“Passing this bill would be inconsistent with the theme the House adopted this session, which is promoting mental health for Georgians,” Wilson said. “This bill targets the most vulnerable Georgians, transgender youth that it sets us up to be at the wrong side of history and morality. But also, on the wrong end of litigation.”
State Rep. Park Cannon, immediately asked for the House to reconsider the passage of the bill. The motion to reconsider the bill failed.
“Well, we’re not targeting them because that’ll be a GHSA determination,” House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge. “And while I’m going to communicate to them that I don’t want them targeted, and I hope that that’s not the case.”
Expect for House Bill 1084 to be litigated in the Georgia courts sooner rather than later.
Earlier in the evening, Governor Kemp addressed the House and touted the agenda he set out to establish eighty-one days ago during his State of the State Address.
Kemp said the House agreed to an additional Georgia State Trooper class of seventy-five cadets, and pay raises for those in state law enforcement. Plus, Kemp patted himself on the back for pushing news legislation that adds human trafficking to the list of serious violent and sexual offenses that require a superior court judge to grant bail.
However, what Kemp did not say Monday was his support for the parental bill of rights, fairness in school sports and for the legislature to “address obscene materials online and in our school libraries.”
The legislature, which is controlled by the Republican Party, largely delivered on Kemp’s promises during this legislative session. However, Speaker Ralston was quick to inform reporters that the state itself cannot enforce the transgender ban.
“I think that’s a determination that GHSA needs to make in consultation with the member schools,” Ralston said.
Ralston’s relationship with Governor Kemp appears to be a strong after a period which he saw the Governor get attacked by members of the GOP underneath the Gold Dome and outside of the state.
“I think sometimes there has there’s some growing pains in that relationship,” Ralston explained. “But look, this governor has taken a lot of abuse, and we know where it’s come from, and he’s kept on going and, you know, he’s governing. He’s not just out here, you know, speech-making, and you know, I kind of admire that.”