The Government Affairs Committee has spent the last year keeping an eye on the movement of legislation as it relates to, primarily, transgender women in sport.
At the time of writing, there are bills at various stages of implementation, in 31 states, and some states have multiple bills being considered. Idaho, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee have already signed some bills into law; South Dakota is the only state to veto the law when it was presented to the Governor (although several executive orders from the bill were enacted).
Currently, 56 bills have been presented in these 31 states to restrict transgender individuals in sport participation. While all of these bills include K-12 – students who will become students on our campuses in the near future – there are a number of bills that also target participation in intercollegiate athletics.
To help provide a sense of scope, the following lists notes active bills in each states; those specifying intramural and sport club participation are indicated with **.
- Arkansas: **
- Georgia: **
- Idaho – Passed and Enacted; Overturned on appeal
- Iowa **
- Kansas **
- Kentucky: **
- Maine **
- Missouri: **
- Mississippi – ** – Passed and Signed
- Montana – ** – Passed House; In Senate
- New Hampshire **
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- New Mexico **
- Ohio **
- Oklahoma **
- South Dakota – ** Passed House/Senate; Vetoed by Governor, executive orders provided for parts of the bill
- South Carolina
- Tennessee – Passed and signed
- Texas: **
- Utah – Died in committee 3/5/21
- West Virginia: **
While the Government Affairs Committee is focused on tracking the status of these bills at a state level – as that is where they are most prevalent – we also have been keeping an eye on this legislation from a federal level, such as US SB S.251.
Why is this information relevant to campus rec?
We, as the Government Affairs Committee, feel it is important to keep NIRSA members informed on legislation that may affect their operations. These bills all stand to affect our profession in one manner or another. Of course, those that name intramurals and/or club sports have a direct impact on our work.
While the bills targeted for K-12 participation may not impact us as immediately or directly, they will have effects on the ability of our future students to participate in youth sport, limiting their experiences, abilities, and/or willingness to participate in our programs when they get to campus campuses.
Additional information to come
The Government Affairs committee has been working to provide avenues for information beyond the regular Policy Pages. On April 2, the Committee, joined by NIRSA members Allie Bogard, Coordinator of Intramural & Club Sports at Montana State University and Erin Patchett, Director, Administration and Assessment at Colorado State University-Fort Collins, hosted an Ideas in Motion roundtable that discussed the current bills and how they could impact our work.
The Committee will also be providing additional information in the coming months to inform the membership of the progress of all these bills and how this will impact our profession and those students we serve. We strongly feel we need to be advocates for all students to be able to participate in activities of their choosing, regardless of their gender identity.
While we are not able to lobby to impact laws in states directly, we hope keeping members informed will provide members with enough information to contact their representatives if they wish and to work effectively with colleagues on campus to provide services and support where necessary.
The Committee also brought this matter to the attention of the NIRSA Board of Directors at their March 30 meeting. The NIRSA Board shared comments with members via email and NIRSA news.
We are continuing to work with the Board to determine next steps in assisting members and providing information. We are also discussing appropriate actions we can take as an association.
In order to do this effectively, we need to hear from you. We will be launching a short survey to ask everyone for information on their campuses: what, if any, impact these bills are having on participation, what conversations are happening at the campus level, and what information you need to help support your work. All information we receive will assist us in helping the membership navigate these changes. Watch for this survey to be included in an upcoming NIRSA News article and on NIRSA Connect.
- For more information, please contact a member of NIRSA’s Government Affairs Committee.