OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A bill that would prevent trans girls from competing on female sports teams in Oklahoma passed on the House floor Wednesday afternoon.
The hot topic bill, House Bill 4245, was questioned and debated on the floor for two hours, but ultimately passed with a 79-18 vote.
“I do not want my granddaughters competing against biological males. It’s as simple as that,” said Representative Danny Sterling, R-District 27 while the bill was being debated on the floor.
“The message our kids hear is that they aren’t welcome,” said Representative Melissa Provenzano, D-District 79, also on the floor.
House Bill 4245, also known as the Save Women’s Sports Act, went back and forth on the House floor for two hours.
The bill states that prior to the beginning of each school year, parents or guardians would have to sign an affidavit that recognizes their student athlete’s biological sex from birth.
HB4245‘s author, Representative Toni Hasenbeck, R-District 65, told News 4 that this bill recognizes the biological differences between male and female athletes, which protects opportunities for girls in athletics.
“When a baby is born and is born a biological male, the presence of that testosterone changes every body system in the body, and it makes biological male stronger and faster and has the ability to recover from jumping and running more quickly so that they can have more endurance in races and swimming meets and any other type of of sporting event,” said Rep. Hasenbeck.
Representative Mauree Turner, D-District 88 said HB4245 would directly damage Oklahoma’s 2SLGBTQ+ athletes.
“When suicide rates and attempts for children in Oklahoma go up because of legislation like this, that says, ‘we don’t want to see you. We don’t want to experience you. You don’t have a place here.’ That’s what legislation like this does,” said Rep. Turner.
Although the legislation would prohibit biological males from competing on female sports teams, Rep. Hasenbeck said there is still work to be done when it comes to allowing all Oklahoma students to compete in athletics.
“Do we have to come back with a second step? Yes,” said Rep. Hasenbeck.
But when News 4 asked Rep. Turner if they would be willing to work with Rep. Hasenbeck on such projects in the future, they were not as willing.
“I have no problem with working across the aisle. I truly don’t. I wouldn’t join this body if I did,” said Rep. Turner. “But I think it’s one thing to work across the aisle, and I think it’s another thing to try to ask me to work with somebody who actively wants to do harm to communities.”
News 4 asked Rep. Hasenbeck if HB4245 would affect Oklahoma’s collegiate athletics, to which she responded it could potentially.
Despite the passionate feelings from both sides, HB4245 did pass on the House floor with a 79-18 on Wednesday, March 23. It will now move to the Senate for consideration.