Utah lawmakers consider overriding Gov. Cox’s impending veto on transgender athlete ban

Mar 22, 2022, 1:22 PM | Updated: 2:14 pm
FILE: Members of the House of Representatives work in the House chamber at the Capitol in Salt Lake...
FILE: Members of the House of Representatives work in the House chamber at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Day 3 of the Utah legislative session, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (Spencer Heaps/Deseret News)
(Spencer Heaps/Deseret News)

UPDATE: Gov. Spencer Cox has vetoed HB11, and the Utah Legislature will hold a veto override session on Friday.

Gov. Cox vetoes bill on transgender athlete ban, legislature plans veto override session

Original story continues below.

SALT LAKE CITY — Leaders in the Utah House of Representatives say lawmakers are discussing a veto override of HB11 — a bill that bans transgender girls from girls sports.

The revised bill, which would put a complete ban on transgender athletes competing in girls sports, passed through the Utah Legislature during the final hours of the 2022 general session. The bill originally called for the creation of a commission to determine the eligibility of individual students.

Gov. Spencer Cox, who tweeted his support for the LGBTQ community after the vote, has said he will veto it. Cox has until Thursday to sign the bill into law, veto it or let it become law by not signing it.

However, lawmakers told KSL NewsRadio and the Deseret News they will poll members once the expected veto is official, and an override session could happen as soon as Friday afternoon.

The bill did not pass the Legislature with a veto-proof majority, but lawmakers could override a veto if enough lawmakers change their vote.

According to the Deseret News, Cox could call for a special session to pass a new bill to address concerns that school districts and the Utah High School Activities Association are left vulnerable to expensive lawsuits under HB11.

On Monday, Indiana’s governor vetoed a bill banning transgender females from participating in girls school sports.

The Associated Press said opponents of the transgender sports bill argued it was a bigoted response to a problem that doesn’t exist. Republican sponsors of the bill said it was needed to protect the integrity of female sports and opportunities for girls to gain college athletic scholarships, but pointed out no instances in the state of girls being outperformed by transgender athletes.

Gov. Eric Holcomb pointed to the Indiana High School Athletic Association, which has a policy covering transgender students wanting to play sports that match their gender identity. The AP says the association has had no transgender girls finalize a request to play on girls team.

In a KSL+ episode, Deseret News reporter Ashley Imlay told KSL TV’s Matt Rascon, “Lawmakers in more than 20 states have introduced bills this year that would ban transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams in public high schools… For some that raises the question of so-called “culture war bills” or “message bills.” According to the Associated Press, in almost every case, the bills’ sponsors cannot cite a single instance in their own state where this has caused problems.”

KSL+: Gov. Speaks Out On Bill Banning Transgender Girls From Girls Sports

KSL NewsRadio’s Kira Hoffelmeyer and Lindsay Aerts contributed to this story.

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Utah lawmakers consider overriding Gov. Cox’s impending veto on transgender athlete ban