A bill aimed at protecting female athletes competing in high school and college sports in Mississippi passed in the state Senate late Thursday night by a vote of 34-9 just ahead of the deadline.
The “Mississippi Fairness Act” – SB 2536 – would require any public school, public institution of higher learning, or an institution of higher learning that is a member of the NCAA, NAIA, MHSAA or NJCCA to designate its athletic or sports teams according to biological sex.
State Senator Angela Hill (R), the bill’s author joined Y’all Politics recently to discuss the bill, highlighting why it is necessary now given the recent actions taken by the Biden Administration.
Much of the day, the chances of the bill being considered looked bleak, as there was some push back in having the bill brought before the Senate.
However, earlier in the day over in the Mississippi House, State Rep. Becky Currie was successful in getting an amendment added to the “Mississippi Intercollegiate Athletics Compensation Rights Act” that restricted biological male student-athletes from earning compensation for the use, image or likeness of the student-athlete as a female athlete or on an athletic team or sport designated for females.
State Sen. Hill said Rep. Currie’s amendment in the House, and the support of her colleagues Rep. Stacey Wilkes and Rep. Jill Ford, “lit the fire” that helped get the Fairness Act passed in the Senate.
“Late tonight, God blessed all our efforts,” Sen. Hill wrote in a Facebook post. “We passed the Fairness Act through the Senate with no questions and 20 plus co-authors. For all the people that helped and spoke out, the female athletes of MS thank you. This is amazing. Got to make it through the house next. Stacey, Becky, Jill, you lit the fire.”
Many state leaders spoke out to back the Fairness Act, including Secretary of State Michael Watson and Ag Commissioner Andy Gipson.
“Our culture shapes our politics. Many of you have heard me say there’s not a societal ill that can’t somehow be tied back to the attack on and destruction of the family unit,” Secretary Watson said on Facebook. “On occasion, our politics gets an opportunity to slam the brakes on some portions of our runaway culture. The Fairness Act, authored by Sen. Angela Hill over the last couple of sessions, offers a chance for our legislature to take a strong stand. The legislation would make sure athletic teams designated for females would not be open to male students. As the father of three daughters, I couldn’t support SB 2536 loudly enough. Hopefully, my friends in the state Senate will take it up and pass it off the floor before tonight’s deadline. Let’s get it done!”
“I am in full support of Senate Bill 2536, the MS Fairness Act authored by Sen. Angela Hill. This bill is a common sense measure to protect girls’ and women’s sports from unfair participation by boys or men,” Commissioner Gipson wrote on Facebook. “It’s bizarre to think we would ever need to pass such a bill, but recent actions at the federal level make it both necessary and appropriate. As the father of two daughters I am strongly in support of this legislation, and urge the Senate to pass it.”
Legislation such as this is gaining traction in other states as well.
In Tennessee this week, Governor Bill Lee told the Nashville press that allowing transgender female athletes to participate in school sports under their gender identity would “destroy women’s sports.”
A bill in the Tennessee House advanced this week that would require middle and high school student athletes to participate in school sports under their gender assigned at birth, according to the USA Today.
Below is the vote in the Mississippi Senate on the Fairness Act. See how your state Senator voted.