GOP leaders in the Florida state legislature reportedly helped revive and approve a controversial ban on transgender athletes participating in women's sports at the high school and college levels.
Language was added as a late amendment in the state House to charter school legislation, the Herald Tribune reported Wednesday night.
The chamber earlier this month approved the ban, but it failed to advance in the state Senate until it was made part of the charter school bill, the news outlet reported.
The approval came as the NCAA warned it might move championships out of places where they felt student athletes weren't treated with "dignity and respect," the Herald Tribune reported.
Transgender female athletes would be limited to playing coed sports or on teams with male athletes under the legislation, which restricts female teams to individuals identified as female on their birth certificate.
The bill applies to high school and college sports sponsored by public schools, including intramural and club teams.
The measure now goes to GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is likely to sign it into law, the news outlet reported.
According to the Herald Tribune, Florida is among some 30 states where GOP lawmakers have seized on the transgender athlete issue after it was highlighted at February's Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.
The measure was approved by the House 79-37, in a mostly party-line vote. Just over two hours later, the Senate voted for the bill 23-16 along party lines.
"To think about my daughters competing against biological males rubs me the wrong way," Gainesville GOP state Sen. Keith Perry said, the news outlet reported. "It's just wrong."
Under the bill, an athlete's gender would be defined based on the sex assigned on their birth certificate. But Republican lawmakers backed away from earlier provisions that would have allowed schools to verify a student's birth gender by a medical inspection of an athlete's genitals.
Elementary school students also were dropped from the ban.
But Democrats weren't mollified.
"This is unnecessary. This is stupid," said Democrat state Sen. Jason Pizzo of North Miami Beach.
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