Governor Kim Reynolds asked Republican legislators to pass a bill to prohibit transgender athletes from competing in girls sports, but House Speaker Pat Grassley said they ran out of time.
“We just had a lot of other things on our agenda and on our plate to wrap up the end of session and I don’t think we ever got to the point where everyone was comfortable with what that would look like right now,” Grassley said.
The 2021 legislative session ended late Wednesday at about 11:45 p.m.
Reynolds has said letting biological males who identify as females compete in volleyball, softball and other girls sports in Iowa is unfair to girls who’re trying for college scholarships. While the issue was tabled in the 2021 session, Grassley said there remains a level of support among Republicans for the ban.
“That will be part of the conversations between now and the next session, what legislation would look like,” Grassley said. “I think we just want to make sure the House, Senate and the governor are all on the same page.”
Governor Reynolds publicly revealed her request for the transathlete ban three weeks ago during a Fox News forum with other GOP governors. House Democratic Leader Todd Prichard of Charles City said that’s part of a pattern.
“This is a governor that’s put headlines and impressing viewers of Fox News over being a leader for Iowa,” Prichard said.
Representative Jennifer Konfrst of Windsor Heights, the second-ranking Democrat in the House, said it’s “a divisive policy” that hurts Iowa’s reputation and transgender students.
“(Reynolds) has been working to make sure that she’s a national figure by making political statements…and trying to build her brand. That’s not her job,” Konfrst said. “She’s supposed to serve Iowans.”
Nearly two months ago, South Dakota’s governor issued an executive order banning transgender athletes from girls sports in public high schools and public colleges and universities and similar legislation has been introduced in more than two dozen other states.