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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Autopsy Report: Texas Lawmakers Didn’t Protect Women’s Sports

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AUSTIN — This year’s regular Texas legislative session is over, and citizens are wondering why state lawmakers did not complete citizens’ priorities—such as protecting young women in Texas.

As school-aged girls across the country face the threat of losing their sports scholarships and opportunities to boys, the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature chose to reject multiple proposed laws that would’ve protected the young women.

The Proposals

Specifically, Republican lawmakers during the session presented two primary options:

House Bill 4042 would’ve ensured male students would not be allowed to compete on specific women’s K-12 interscholastic athletic teams, while a similar proposal, House Bill 1458, would’ve clearly defined school athletic teams—including higher education—as “only students of the same biological sex; or students of both biological sexes.”

“A biologically male student may not participate in an athletic team … that is designated for participation by only biologically female students,” reads HB 1458.

However, both of those bills barely moved forward in the legislative process, and lawmakers instead chose to push Senate Bill 29, the Senate’s identical version of HB 4042 and one of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s top priorities.

After sifting the proposed laws down to one, lawmakers set the stage to approve protections just for K-12 women’s sports teams, and not for higher education.

The Storyline

Early on in the session, though the two House Bills never gained momentum, how they stalled seemingly revealed the primary opponent of the women’s sports effort: Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan.

For background, Phelan was one of only three Texas House Republicans to receive a positive grade from Equality Texas, a pro-LGBT advocacy organization.

Regarding HB 1458, Phelan sent the proposal to his appointed House State Affairs Committee—where his appointed chairman, State Rep. Chris Paddie (R–Marshall), did nothing on the bill for nearly two months despite

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