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Report: Florida transgender sports bill loses steam in Senate

Locally, the bill did not sit well with the LGBTQ+ community in Jacksonville. A report from the Tampa Bay Times, suggests the bill might have died in the Senate.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A bill that would ban transgender girls from participating in women's sports in the state of Florida may be dead in the water.

The House overwhelmingly approved the bill, HB 1475, last week by a 77-40 vote, however, although the bill is now stalled in the Senate.

According to a report from the Tampa Bay Times, the bill was set to be heard in a Senate committee Tuesday but the measure’s hearing was temporarily postponed.

Tuesday was the last scheduled day of Senate committee meetings for the 2021 legislative session.

“I believe Florida should protect the ability of girls and women to safely participate in athletics, and I think there is consensus among my colleagues surrounding that underlying policy objective...,” the Senate sponsor of the bill, Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times. “Right now, my primary focus as Appropriations Chair is our constitutional responsibility to pass a balanced budget, and in a time-limited environment, I don’t know that we will have sufficient time to revisit SB 2012 this session.”

The bill initially faltered in the Senate last week shortly after the NCAA announced it would pull championships from states that pass legislation banning transgender girls from participating in women's sports.  

A Senate spokesperson blamed it on a “busy” committee agenda.

The bill did not sit well with the LGBTQ community in Jacksonville.

“This particular bill is built on hate and division," said Manny Velasquez, director of the LGBTQ center at the University of North Florida. “This is a non-issue and they’re just trying to look at ways to chip away the rights of individuals and the rights of community members."

Phillip Perry, communication director for the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus, and track and cross-country coach, says we should be encouraging transgender youth to take part in athletic teams.  

“I’ve seen at first hand how it could really change students' lives for the better, I’ve seen how it can build character, build confidence and build leadership skills, and that’s really important," Perry said.

Velasquez says this bill isn’t fair and can mentally hurt an individual.

RELATED: LGBTQ community reacts to house bill banning transgender girls from playing women’s sports