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Indianapolis legislators comment on veto override of transgender athletes bill, lack of action on gas tax

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INDIANAPOLIS – A vote today during a Technical Corrections hearing led to the override of Gov. Eric Holcomb's veto of House Bill 1041, which will effectively ban transgender girls in Indiana K-12 schools from playing on a sports team matching their gender identity. Despite Holcomb saying he found no evidence of transgender girls compromising the fairness of school sports, Indiana's Republican supermajority voted 67-28 to discriminate against transgender children and have our state government interfere in areas it doesn't belong.

“When the transgender girl athlete ban bill was first introduced in committee, I pointed out that little evidence exists that transgender girls participating in high school sports have caused any so-called ‘fairness’ issues,” said State Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis).

“Discrimination may be enshrined in the Indiana Code from now on but will certainly violate civil rights laws. I foresee the state spending money only to lose litigation. What a shame that we’ve expended this much time and resources all for the purpose of finding a group to attack.”

“Through this veto override vote, Indiana Republicans have prioritized bullying transgender children as opposed to helping Hoosiers with issues that affect their daily lives,” State Rep. Renee Pack (D-Indianapolis), said.

“Transgender children playing sports poses no threats to other children, it just allows children to interact with their peers and gain valuable life skills, such as teamwork and leadership. A real threat to Hoosiers, however, is the growing price at the pump that is forcing some to choose between buying gas to get to their jobs and buying groceries. Indiana Republicans have not responded to our repeated calls to suspend the gas tax, despite the fact that doing so would help alleviate many burdens Hoosiers face. Banning children from playing on sports teams with their friends isn't family values, but helping Hoosiers make ends meet is.”

 “The bill vetoed by the governor that the supermajority chose to pass today is a solution for a demonstrably non-existent 'problem,'” said state Rep. Gregory W. Porter (D-Indianapolis), ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee.

“Meanwhile, the supermajority and Republican administration have ignored the all-too-real problem of high gas prices. It's past time for the governor to call a special session so we can use our record surplus to suspend the state gas taxes and give Hoosiers some relief.”  

“As a legislative body, we have an obligation to protect our constituents from real threats. A transgender student playing sports on gender-affirming teams is not a threat,” State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) said.

“While our state Republicans have been putting all their effort into attacking a group of people already marginalized ­– along with ensuring Indiana women will have a harder time accessing abortions and reproductive health care – they have refused our calls to suspend the gas tax, which would help Hoosiers who are struggling financially. This veto override is not about helping Indiana residents, it's about hurting children who are just trying to build connections with their peers.”

While Indiana Republicans occupied themselves with the non-issue of transgender children playing sports, they have repeatedly avoided taking action on an actual issue affecting Hoosiers: the gas tax. This month, gas prices have hit a historic high in the state.

The Indiana House Democratic Caucus has repeatedly called for the supermajority to take action by suspending the gas tax ­­to help Hoosiers at the pump. To fill up a 14-gallon tank, Hoosiers would save $7.84 at the pump from the suspension of the state gas taxes under House Democrats' plan. 

“After years of watching my colleagues across the aisle cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy, I'm disheartened they won't take this temporary step to help Hoosier families with basic energy security so they can get to work and school with a little less pain at the pump,” State Rep. Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis) said.

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