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House K-12 budget bill would dock schools over transgender athletes

the trans pride flag the transgender pride flag
Sharon McCutcheon

The Michigan Legislature spent much of this week moving budget bills forward. There was a big debate in the state House on language in the nearly $20 billion K-12 schools budget that would financially sanction schools that allow transgender athletes to compete outside their sex assigned at birth.

Democratic state Representative Regina Weiss tried without success to have that language removed.

“It is our duty to advocate for Michigan students, to recognize them and see them for who they are, to protect them, and not to use them as political fodder,” she said. “It also holds school districts hostage by conditioning their state funding on the implementation of a discriminatory policy. But, most importantly, this language is harmful to some of the most vulnerable children in our state.”

Republican Rep. Annette Glenn defended the provision.

“For generations, our society has fought for fairness in women’s sports with Title IV and similar initiatives; we have made a lot of progress,” she said. “But that progress is undermined if we allow boys to compete in girls sports.”

The Michigan High School Athletic Association would prefer the state stay out of it. The association said it has a policy to address transgender athletes on a case-by-case basis.

The bill moved out of the House appropriations committee last week.

The budget bill now goes to the state Senate. The final version of the schools budget will also have to be negotiated with Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who supports transgender rights.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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