Last week, state Senator Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) issued the following statement regarding the Senate’s passage of House Bill 151, which was amended at the last minute to incorporate the entirety of Senate Bill 178. As amended and passed by the Senate, H.B. 151 prohibits transgender girls from playing on girls’ school sports teams, overhauls the responsibilities of the State Board of Education and Department of Education, and makes related changes:
“I am extremely disappointed that the Senate passed this unnecessary and discriminatory legislation. I have no doubt House Bill 151 will have unintended consequences. The chair of the committee even conceded, ‘there’s a lot of things…that will need to be clarified,’” Hicks-Hudson said.
During House Bill 151’s final hearing in the Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee, Senator Vernon Sykes offered an amendment that would have codified the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s policy regarding transgender athletes.
“This amendment would have been a fair and thoughtful compromise. Instead, the committee chair stated they would ‘be taking a look at this down the road.’ Senator Sykes’ amendment was tabled, and our fellow committee members decided to move ahead with the flawed version that more than 90 Ohioans expressed opposition to through in-person and written testimony. House Bill 151 targets women’s sports as a whole. Children in Ohio already have enough stress in their lives.”
The amended version of the bill will transfer most of the powers and duties of the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction to the newly created Department of Education and Workforce, under the direction of a gubernatorial appointee.
“While the amended version of H.B. 151 was deplorable on its own, the fact it was further amended on the floor to include more careless and unpopular legislation demonstrates to an even greater extent this legislature’s indifference to the people we serve. Senate Bill 178 was criticized by Ohioans from both parties. Sprinting these bills across the finish line is fundamentally wrong.”
House Bill 151 now returns to the House for a concurrence vote.