TN Governor Signs Transgender Athlete Penalty Bill Into Law


Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) “quietly signed” a bill last Friday that will penalize public schools that allow transgender athletes to play girls’ sports, the Associated Press reported Monday.

Lee signed the bill “without comment” a little over a week after the Republican-led Tennessee State Senate passed the measure, SB1861, 26-5. The law directs the Tennessee Department of Education to “withhold a portion of the state education finance funds” if the public, middle, or high school “refuse[s] to determine a student’s gender, for purposes of participation in schools sports, by the student’s sex at the time of birth…,” according to bill’s text. However, the bill does not specify how much money the state can withhold. 

Lee signed a bill last year banning transgender athletes from participating in girls’ sports — the legislation is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit, and the trial is expected to begin in March. SB1861, which will go into effect July 1, takes that bill a step further to penalize public schools for bowing to the transgender activist agenda. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Joey Hensley, said the measure is meant to further protect students.

“What this bill does is put teeth in that legislation,” Hensley said.

Lia Thomas

Transgender UPenn Swimmer Lia Thomas (JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

The Republican-supermajority Senate also advanced a bill that would prohibit men who identify as women from participating in women’s college sports.

Besides signing the transgender athletes ban last year, Gov. Lee has signed a few other pieces of legislation that protect women and young children from the transgender activist agenda. In May of 2021, Lee signed a bill into law that separates private spaces such as bathrooms and locker rooms for use by individuals according to their birth sex. Lee also signed a bill that same month that prohibits performing sex-change surgeries and prescribing hormones and puberty blockers for minors.

No other state has “enacted more laws” to protect women and children from transgender activists than Tennessee, the Associated Press reported.

Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on Twitter.