Lawmakers look at citizens’ rights on Monday

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 10:34 PM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - As trans issues cross the legislature on Monday, lawmakers and experts discuss the Student Eligibility Interscholastic Sports bill.

This bill looks to separate athletes by biological gender, according to lawmakers, in hopes of preventing any unfair advantage.

The bill recently received $1.1M in funding from appropriations for anticipated litigation. It now heads to the Revenue Committee for review.

Former athletes, coaches, and lawmakers weigh in.

”We’ve had some incidences already where some girls have lost their places on the podium based on having to deal with trans-athletes. So it’s not me being mean, its not anyone being trying to be exclusive. We’re just trying to say the girls have fought long and hard, 50 years  for Title 9,. We want to continue to keep those levels of law in place for our girls,” said Sen. Wendy Davis Schuler, S.D. 15.

But Human Rights experts say that advantage isn’t true.

”I think that when we pass bad legislation, we only hurt youth. We only tell youth we are going to “other” you we’re going to make you feel different and separate. What we need to be doing is looking at ways that we can support our youth and make sure our youth have positive outcomes  and feeling engaged in their community,” said John Gruber, Deputy National Campaign Director of the Human Rights Campaign.

And advocates respond to further division.

”Some folks have suggested why don’t we set up a  third category and the Supreme Court and the American people have said separate is never equal,” said Sara Burlingame, Executive Director for Wyoming Equality.

Next, the Restoration of Civil Rights would allow non-violent felony offenders to have their rights restored, such as the right to be on a jury, run for office, and bear arms.

”I think the biggest thing will be that they will be able to hunt. And thats a big deal for the state of Wyoming it’s a constitutional right to be able to hunt, fish and trap here and so I think thats the biggest benefit,” said Rep. Karlee Provenza, H.D. 45.

Critics are concerned this bill puts guns in the hands of criminals, but lawmakers believe this bill will restore rights for the time served.