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Senate President says 11th-hour move to ban transgender student-athletes was ‘good government'

Republican Senate President Stuart Adams speaks on the floor of the Senate chamber on the first day of the Utah legislature, Jan. 18, 2022
Ivana Martinez
In the final hours of the legislative session, lawmakers voted to ban transgender girls from playing school sports.

Utah Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, defended the Legislature’s surprise, last-minute move to pass a bill banning transgender girls from playing school sports.

He made the remarks Tuesday during a Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute event.

After more than a year of negotiations, the Legislature seemed ready to pass a bill Friday night that would create a commission to decide if individual trans athletes could play.

Then, just hours before the end of the session, the Senate took up a new version that completely banned transgender girls from school sports.

“I believe it was actually good government and let me explain why,” Adams said. “I come up with a lot of good ideas, I think. I think all my ideas are good. But when I actually have 103 other legislators look at them, they usually get refined. And my good ideas sometimes aren't that good or they get better.”

Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, said during the panel he was blindsided by the move.

“We ended up spending over an hour of time on the floor debating this,” he said. “I come away saying, ‘Why did we even deal with this issue?’ There's a lot of good bills that were not dealt with that were on the board because of this debate.”

Transgender activists, other Democrats, and Gov. Spencer Cox have all said they were surprised by the move. Cox has promised to veto the bill.

House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said if that happens, he’ll poll House Republicans to see if there’s enough support for a veto-override session.

Sonja Hutson is a politics and government reporter at KUER.
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