HELENA — The Montana House has voted to send a bill restricting transgender student-athletes to a conference committee.
The House voted 97-2 to reject the Senate’s amendments to House Bill 112. That bill would block transgender women and girls from participating in competitions designated for female athletes.
Last month, the Senate approved HB 112, but only after adding an amendment that would void the bill if the U.S. Department of Education issued a “letter of impending enforcement action” saying it violated federal anti-discrimination rules. Supporters of that amendment said federal action could cost Montana millions in education funding.
Rep. John Fuller, R-Whitefish, sponsored HB 112. He said he agreed with the idea of the amendment, but that he wanted to change it so the bill wouldn’t become void until the state exhausted its full appeals process. He said that would likely take more than two years – enough time for the next legislature to reconsider the law.
The House and Senate will now have to appoint members of a conference committee to work on a final version of the bill. Any final version would have to pass both chambers again.