The author of the bill that would have prohibited transgenders individuals from playing on girls high school sports teams in Indiana said she had no idea Gov. Eric Holcomb had planned to veto it this week.
“I was very shocked that he vetoed the bill and after, I talked to the speaker of the house and he was surprised as well,” Rep. Michelle Davis, R-Greenwood, said in a phone interview.
Davis says she never talked to Holcomb about the bill but was assuming he would sign it as he had told reporters when asked about it in late February that, “boys should be playing boys sports and girls should be playing girls sports.”
“That led me to believe that he was supportive,” she said on Thursday.
Davis said Holcomb’s assistant called her earlier this week and told her the governor was going to veto House Bill 1041, and that she’d asked why. The assistant, she says, mentioned the two reasons outlined in Holcomb’s veto letter – the threat of a lawsuit and the section in the bill about filing a grievance for violation of the law, which would leave it up to school corporations to establish their own procedure.
“These are the two things that I knew about, and again, never had a conversation with him,” says Davis.
Holcomb also said in his veto letter that he didn’t see evidence that there was a problem in Indiana that required government intervention.
“It’s not rampant in Indiana by any means,” says Davis, “but I will also say, one time is too many.”
The focus of her bill, she says, was to “maintain the integrity of female sports.”
House Bill 1041 would have prohibited biological males from playing on female sports teams in K-12 schools in Indiana. It originally also applied to state colleges and universities, but the bill was amended in committee to take this out, to the dismay of many supporters.
“As I’m learning in legislation, you take baby steps and take the wins that you can get,” says Davis, adding that she’s told her colleagues in the Indiana House that she’s not done with this issue.
“I’ve been very open and frank that I’m going to introduce another bill to apply to college athletes,” she said. “I think every female athlete should be protected.”
Davis is a first-term member of the Indiana House. She’s also a former high school and college athlete who attended Ball State University, playing on the women’s basketball team. In 2012, she was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
One of three co-authors of her bill is Rep. Bob Heaton, R-Terre Haute, who played with Indiana basketball legend Larry Bird on the Indiana State University team in 1979, the year the team went to the NCAA tournament and faced off against Michigan State and Magic Johnson.
House Bill 1041 is Davis’ first bill and had broad support in both the House and the Senate, despite opposition from LGBTQ groups, the ACLU and the Indiana State Teachers Association.
In response to Holcomb’s veto, Davis and Huston released a joint message on Wednesday afternoon, saying: “Despite being equal, biological males and biological females both possess different genetic strengths and weaknesses. Because of these differences, biological girls should complete with girls and biological boys should compete with boys.”
The Indiana House, Huston said, will vote to override the veto May 24, on a day scheduled for technical corrections on bills. Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray has not released a statement on House Bill 1041, and a staffer said he was not available for an interview on Thursday, but said: “…we have been telling reporters that the Senate will consider the veto override of HB 1041 if the House sends it to our chamber.”
The original House vote on the bill was 66-30. The Senate had voted 32-18. A simple majority in each house is required to override the governor’s veto.
This article was originally posted on Author of Indiana bill banning transgenders in school sports ‘shocked’ by veto