Both the North Carolina state House and Senate have passed separate bills that would prevent biological male athletes from competing in sports designated for females. The bills raced through both chambers.
House Bill 574, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, passed the House Judiciary Committee in the morning of Wednesday, April 19; passing the House Rules Committee shortly after that, and then passing the third reading in the House in the afternoon.
The Fairness in Women’s Sport Act passed the House on a veto proof 73-to-39 vote with three Democrats joining the Republicans in support of the bill.
The state Senate passed Senate Bill 631, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, a similar but not identical bill on Thursday, April 20, by a veto proof 29-to-18 vote. The bill was co-sponsored by every Senate Republican. One difference in the two bills is that the House bill includes a ban on biological males competing in women’s sports on college teams and the Senate bill only applies to middle school and high school teams.
A press release from the Senate Republicans describes the bill as “a commonsense solution to the unfair advantage gained when biological males compete in female sports.”
Primary bill sponsor Sen. Vickie Sawyer (R-Iredell) said, “At the heart of all sports is competition, and the last thing we want is to take that away from our female athletes. We’ve made far too much progress to go backward and threaten the loss of a scholarship or state championship.”
Because the two bills are different, the state House and Senate will have to reach agreement on a final bill before it can be passed and sent to Gov. Roy Cooper.
The Republicans now have veto-proof majorities in both the state House and Senate. Cooper has three choices when the bill comes to his desk: He can sign it into law; he can veto it and send it back to the legislature where it would have to pass by a three-fifths majority to override the veto; or Cooper can do nothing and the bill would become law without his signature after 10 days.
Neither bill would prevent transgender athletes from competing on co-ed athletic teams or teams that correspond with their biological sex at birth.