On Tuesday, Republican House Speaker Jay Lucas threw out over 600 amendment proposals, claiming that they were essentially identical, with only minor differences such as the names of institutions being changed in each proposal. This was a big deal in sports news for women recently as this has been a hot topic.
Democratic leaders pulled down even more after those judgments, with the author of most of the amendments declaring that temporarily stopping the House of Representatives for many hours was an accomplishment.
The Democratic representative from Rock Hill, Rep. John King, remarked, “Today we witnessed so many of my colleagues speak up for those who do not frequently have a voice.”
Supporters of the bill were relatively silent on Tuesday in order to avoid prolonging the discussion. One amendment, which would have allowed high school girls’ wrestling teams to be formed, did pass.
What Does the Bill Mean?
After a brief appearance at the stage immediately before voting, bill sponsor Rep. Ashley Trantham expressed gratitude to those who had worked tirelessly for two years to have the legislation approved in South Carolina. In 2021, it was defeated in a House committee.
According to the Pelzer Republican, “It is because of your activities that South Carolina is one step closer to protecting women’s sports.”
When it comes to determining which teams a transgender athlete may play for, the South Carolina High School League says it considers each request on an individual basis and has received less than five requests. Molly Spearman, the newly elected Republican superintendent of education, is likewise opposed to the idea.
Democrats said Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for singling out those who are already subjected to discrimination by the majority of society.
“Please don’t interfere with these transsexual children,” Representative Krystle Matthews, a Democrat from Ladson, said that there are fewer than one percent of them.
Before the start of Tuesday’s discussion, Democrats submitted four boxes stuffed with amendments — an estimated 1,000 in all — in an attempt to revise the law. Republicans promptly cited a rule restricting discussion to three minutes per amendment, which was swiftly overruled. If Democratic members had been able to maintain their right to use their entire allotted time and had continued to seek for two-minute votes, the discussion may have continued into the weekend. However, this was not the case so the discussion was finished much quicker than anticipated at the meeting.
What Were the Proposed Amendments?
Democratic amendments would make significant modifications to the bill by enabling public high schools to opt out of the restrictions and forcing women’s sports to have the same number of assistant coaches and facilities as men’s sports teams, among other things.
Others would change the name of the plan to the “Discrimination Capital of the United States Act,” name certain schools after it, or enable school bands to exclusively play at women’s athletic events. Others would do nothing at all.
In addition, debate was postponed for about an hour as the House chamber was evacuated due to a tornado warning for the city of Columbia. Nothing came from this however and the debate was continued very shortly afterwards.
A similar measure has made it all the way to the Senate floor, but it has not yet been discussed or debated. The clash occurred as the law approached a deadline this week to get through at least one house, failing which it would need a two-thirds majority to even be considered for consideration.
On the amendments, at least a dozen Democrats from among the House’s 43 members took turns speaking. When their allotted time had expired, Lucas immediately interrupted them. This was not a good sign as the Republicans continued to push their bill forward to get approval. They would not let the opposition speak on the topic unless it benefited them.
The representative, Rep. Annie McDaniel, was discussing facts regarding mental health difficulties and suicide rates among transgender adolescents when Lucas abruptly interrupted her and said, “Ms. McDaniel, your time on the amendment has ended.”
“Everything is well,” the Democrat from Winnsboro said. “When I get back, I’ll wrap up everything I’ve been telling you.”
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