COLUMBUS — State Rep. Jena Powell’s (R-Arcanum) efforts to pass the Save Women’s Sports Act, legislation, which would have required schools, state institutions of higher education, and private colleges to designate separate, single-sex sports teams, hit a speedbump at the governor’s desk, and caused some commotion in the General Assembly.
Originally introduced as House Bill 61, the Save Women’s Sports Act was added as a floor amendment to Senate Bill 187, which allows college athletes to earn compensation for their name, image, and likeness (NIL).
As Powell introduced the act on the House floor, Democratic lawmakers pounded their desks and yelled, seeking to disrupt the reading of the amendment. Nonetheless, the amendment passed 54-40 to go to the Senate for consideration.
“I can’t explain always why the Left doesn’t like some of the things that we do, but this is a simple bill, an amendment to say, ‘Hey, we want to protect the integrity of women’s sports in the state of Ohio.’ I think the Left is frustrated and oftentimes they speak out in ways that are very inappropriate.” Powell said. “When I had the House floor, the Speaker did address me, which means I have the ability to speak. Instead of waiting for his turn to speak, he decided to erupt into yelling, and as you heard in the clip, just literally banging on top of his desk. I don’t even think any of the members could hear my speech; that’s how loud it really was.”
On June 28, however, Gov. DeWine signed an executive action allowing college athletes in Ohio to earn money off their name, image and likeness, bypassing Senate Bill 187, as well as Powell’s amendment.
DeWine went on record opposing the amendment, saying, “The welfare of those young people needs to be absolutely most important to this issue, whether that young person is transgender or not.”
In a Facebook post, Rep. Powell excoriated the governor’s decision.
“When Governor Mike DeWine signed the NIL executive order. He turned his back on millions of females in Ohio. His misogynistic dictatorship needs to end. Ohio women deserve better,” she said.
She also added, “I would say Governor DeWine’s response is from an individual who’s scared of the woke Left and not willing to stand up for the millions of women in our state. … The thing about the OHSAA, though, is that they’re not elected by Ohioans. We as representatives are; we as politicians are, and so this is where we have to step in and say, ‘Look: enough is enough. We have to protect Ohio females.’ So instead of Mike DeWine doing what was right, he pushed the ball down the court and really kind of hid behind that so that woke corporations wouldn’t come after him.”
“This bill is about ensuring every little girl can achieve her athletic dream in Ohio,” said Powell. “These girls deserve a fair shot and to be given the chance to play and win by the rules in the sports that they love.”
The amendment also included provisions that provided protections for students, schools and colleges, as well as a dispute resolution process.