To ensure fairness for Alaska’s female athletes, a bill was introduced in the State Senate on May 13 by Sen. Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer).
The bill would change Alaska law to limit women’s athletic programs to biological females. Alaska is one of more than 30 states now considering such legislation. Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee have already passed these types of laws.
Senate Bill 140 clarifies that “sex” means “biological sex” and the measure requires that all schools designate each of its athletic teams or sports as either being for males, females or coeducational.
“A student who participates in an athletic team or sport designated female, women, or girls must be female, based on the participant’s biological sex,” the bill states. “
The legislation would also prohibit any accrediting or athletic association or school district from taking “adverse action against a school or school district for complying” with the law.
On the other hand, a student, school or school district that is “deprived of an athletic opportunity or suffers direct or indirect harm” resulting from a violation of the proposed law “may bring a private cause of action for injunctive relief, damages, and any other relief available under law against the violating school.”
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Additionally, the bill protects students and employees who report violations of the law.
Under current Alaska practice, the Alaska School Activities Association allows biological males to compete against females in state high school championship events. Several school districts, including Anchorage and Fairbanks also allow males who identify as females to participate in girls sports. Senate Bill 140 would prohibit this.
Jim Minnery, president of the Alaska Family Council praised the bill for pushing back against an “anti-scientific ideology that pretends that there are no biological differences between men and women.”
This philosophy, he said, ignores the fact that male athletes “generally have larger hearts and lungs, denser bones, and stronger muscles. It’s precisely for that reason that unique women’s sports programs were created in the first place, to create equal opportunities for women to have fair athletic competitions.”
The bill has been referred to the Senate Education Committee.
- Click here to contact Sen. Shelley Hughes
- Click here to contact members of the Senate Education Committee.
- Click here to read SB 140.