Update: Republican Stands Against Bill to Limit Transgender Athletes
Bills designed to limit transgender participation in K-12 and college sports have failed to pass the Senate Human Services, Child and Families Committee with a 2-3 vote.
Republican state Senator Joan Ballweg joined two Democrats in voting against bills that would ban transgender students who were born male from competing in girls’ and women’s sports in high school and college. WEAC registered against the bill.
The Markesan Republican said she opposed the bills because she believes the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association and the NCAA should be allowed to address the issue on their own, and that transgender youth are at significantly higher risk for depression, suicide and victimization compared to their peers.
“The whole concept of supporting those individuals as they address their individual sexuality is something that is an overriding concern outside of athletics,” Ballweg told a reporter following her vote.
Bills that receive negative votes in committee can still be taken up on the floor.
Bill to Require More Testing of K-2 Students Passes Committee
The Assembly Education Committee passed a bill to increase the amount of testing for K-2 students (AB 446 / SB-454). The Senate will vote on the bill October 25, and the Assembly will vote on the bill October 26.
The bill, which WEAC registered against, would assess our youngest learners three times a year and require a personal reading plan for K-2 students in the bottom quarter. The bill does not indicate how additional assessments would be funded and draws questions – including from the Department of Public Instruction – as to how more testing will improve literacy and provide educators with necessary funding and tools to conduct increased interventions. The majority of federal funds, including reading teachers paid with funds from Title 1, cannot be used to comply with the language of the bill. Watch a short video from the Assembly hearing and read this related story.
Committee Passes Bill to Allow Transfers Based on Mask Policies
The Senate Education Committee has passed a bill (SB 587 / AB 600) to allow students to transfer between schools requiring face masks and those that do not, or between schools requiring COVID-19 vaccines and those that do not. The bill would apply to the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. Watch a 1-minute video. The companion bill is in the Assembly Committee on Mental Health.
Other Bills We’re Watching:
Transferring into Voucher Programs (SB 608 / AB-621). The Senate will vote October 25 on this bill to allow a pupil who changes residence to transfer from the Racine or Milwaukee voucher programs into the statewide voucher program. The Assembly Education Committee has held a public hearing on the companion bill.
Reading Test License (SB-589 / AB 611). The Senate will vote October 25 on a bill to change the Foundations of Reading test licensure requirement to allow an applicant to pass an examination identical to the most recent edition of the FORT. Memo The companion bill is in the Assembly Education Committee.
September 11 Observance Day (SB 398 / AB 405). The Assembly Education Committee has held a public hearing on a bill to add September 11 to the list of observance days in schools.
Cursive Writing (AB 435 / SB 431). The Senate will vote October 25 on this bill to require cursive writing to be incorporated into the model academic standards for English language arts. The bill also requires all school boards, privately run charter schools and voucher schools include cursive writing in elementary grades with the objective that pupils be able to write legibly in cursive by the end of fifth grade. The Assembly Committee on State Affairs held a public hearing on the bill September 22.