Georgia bill would protect women's sports

The Save Girls' Sports Act would require that athletes compete according to their biological sex.

The bill is moving through the state Senate.

The Georgia Senate is on track to consider a bill that would require athletes to compete according to their biological sex. 

The Save Girls' Sports Act cleared the Senate Education and Youth Committee on Feb. 9 and will now move to the Senate floor for deliberation.

SB266 was reintroduced by Senator Marty Harbin, who stressed the bill "is about fairness."

"This bill is about fairness. It is simply not fair to force biological girls to compete against biological boys, and it is certainly not fair to expect young women to endure the immense social pressure against them if they speak up for themselves," Hardin said.

The bill would affect student-athletes who compete for schools in the Georgia Education System, as well as within the University System of Georgia.

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Targeting collegiate athletes, the bill would amend the Official Code of Georgia Annotated to render a direct definition of "sex" to distinguish between biological men and women. 

The new code would regulate that eligibility for gendered sports be determined "based on sex and not gender" to "ensure, enhance, or promote fair competition."

At the youth level, the bill would amend Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, which stipulates interscholastic or intramural athletes cannot be discriminated against based on gender.

The Save Girls' Sports Act would remedy the text to refine the definition of gender to mean biological sex. Athletes would, therefore, be confined to competing in divisions that meet biological standards.

More so, the bill established a pathway for students affected by violations of the updated code to take legal action by filing a grievance complaint. 

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A similar bill, House Bill 276, was introduced to the legislature during the previous term but failed to advance in the chambers. As for the newly introduced Senate bill, there are still multiple steps it must pass before being signed into law.

Transgender participation in athletics has been a heatedly discussed topic that is rocking the legislature in 2022. Recently, South Dakota became the 10th state to implement policy that prevents biological men from competing against biological women.

By signing the bill into law, Governor Kristi Noem joined lawmakers in Florida, Idaho, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia by codifying protections for women's sports in ink.

According to Save Women's Sports, a self-described coalition that "seeks to preserve biologically-based eligibility standards" for women's athletics, Arizona and Indiana are next on the watch list for legislation pending 2022.

Campus Reform reached out to Harbin and Save Women's Sports for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

Follow @AlexaSchwerha1 on Twitter.