A bill that would ban transgender females from competing at...

A bill that would ban transgender females from competing at Nassau County-run athletic facilities got the approval Monday of the legislature's Rules Committee. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

A Nassau bill that would ban transgender females from participating in sports at county-owned athletic facilities cleared a key legislative committee Monday, with all Republican lawmakers voting in favor and all Democrats voting against. 

The vote in the Rules Committee was 4-3 after about an hour of debate that included yelling, finger pointing and personal anecdotes. At one point, the presiding officer muted the microphone of a speaker for exhausting her allocated three minutes during the public comment period of the meeting.

Advocates and members of the transgender community said the bill sends a message of hostility during a month in which the LGBTQ+ community celebrates its civil rights, and further marginalizes people already at risk of depression and suicide. Presiding officer Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence), Legis. Thomas McKevitt (R-East Meadow), Legis. John Ferretti (R-Levittown) and Legis. James Kennedy (R-Massapequa) voted yes.

Legis. Siela Bynoe (D-Westbury), Legis. Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview) and Legis. Scott Davis (D-Rockville Centre) voted no. Davis filled in for Minority Leader Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove) who was absent from the meeting for personal reasons.

The full 19-member legislature is expected to vote on the proposal June 24. Republicans hold a 12-7 majority in the Nassau legislature.

The administration filed the legislation Friday, requesting the legislature support a new section of county administrative code, Title 90, regulating “Fairness for Women and Girls in Sports.”

The proposal bars the county parks department from issuing permits for sporting events that allow “athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls to include biological males as competitors.”

Victoria LaGreca, of the county attorney's office, said teams would need to indicate whether they are male, female or coed when filling out applications for permits to use county-run ballfields, basketball and tennis courts, swimming pools and other sports facilities.

“This designation will be based on the biological sex at birth of the competitors,” LaGreca said. “The designation of sex-specific sports is necessary to create a level playing field for female athletes, who have historically been at a disadvantage.”

LaGreca confirmed there were no instances of transgender females in Nassau seeking to play on women's teams. Men's or boys events could include transgender male athletes under the legislation.

Democrats on the committee questioned whether the bill was legal. Davis asked whether the administration held meetings with all the stakeholders including the parents of trans athletes together with the parents of female athletes. LaGreca said meetings were held with various groups but not all together. 

Drucker said he did not believe the bill would hold up against the state's anti-discrimination laws protecting gender identity. Ferretti said he believed it was a “common sense” bill that was needed “proactively” to protect girls and women in the county. 

Kennedy said his daughter would potentially be protected by the bill.

“I have a son and I have a daughter. I watch the way my son and his friends play sports and they are incredibly aggressive. They are stronger than the girls. They are more powerful, typically. They are faster,” Kennedy said.

Juli Grey-Owens, executive director of Gender Equality New York, called the bill “absolutely horrifying.”

“It sends a clear message of hostility and undermines the spirit of equality and acceptance. Nothing says 'we hate your kind' like a law that looks to eliminate hard-fought rights,” Grey-Owens said. 

Kopel told Newsday after the meeting: “Most of the opposition centered on whether trans people are being persecuted by this bill. That's not what it's about. This strictly is a matter of safety and of fairness and its protecting young girls and young women who are participants in sports from injury and from so unfairly having their efforts wasted.” 

The administration's proposal comes after County Executive Bruce Blakeman, a Republican, attempted to enact an executive order that would have had a similar effect.

State Supreme Court Justice Francis Ricigliano on May 11 voided the executive order, saying Blakeman went “beyond the scope of his authority.”

Ricigliano, a Republican, said there was no “corresponding legislative enactment” giving Blakeman the authority to issue his order. The county is appealing.

Also on Monday, legislators on the Rules and Finance committees approved a $184 million operating budget for Nassau Community College for the 2024-25 school year. A vote by the full legislature is expected on June 24. 

NCC's board of trustees unanimously adopted a budget last month. To close a $14 million budget gap, the college implemented a consolidation plan that merges several departments. Members of the school's full-time faculty union are opposed to the plan.

Democratic primaries tomorrow ... Babylon village 'Heroes Fountain'... Make your own charm bracelet Credit: Newsday

North Amityville crash ... Transgender ban vote ... Make your own charm bracelet ... Democratic primaries tomorrow

Democratic primaries tomorrow ... Babylon village 'Heroes Fountain'... Make your own charm bracelet Credit: Newsday

North Amityville crash ... Transgender ban vote ... Make your own charm bracelet ... Democratic primaries tomorrow

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