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Arkansas bill banning transgender athletes from female sports passes Senate committee

The bill would prohibit transgender athletes from playing in girls' and women's sports teams at schools.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — UPDATE 3/9/2021 - An Arkansas bill banning transgender athletes from competing in competing in sports consistent with their gender identity is headed to the state Senate for a vote. 

The Senate Education Committee endorsed the measure on a 5-3 vote on Monday. 

Opponents could be heard chanting "shame" outside the committee room after the vote. 

Similar legislation has been introduced in at least 20 states so far this year.

Idaho was the only state to pass a similar law last year, but it has been blocked in federal court. 

Opponents warn it could have harmful effects on transgender youth.

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2/23/2021 - Arkansas' Republican attorney general and lawmakers have unveiled legislation that would prohibit transgender athletes from playing in girls' and women's sports teams at schools. 

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Monday said she wasn't aware of any instances of transgender athletes playing on school sports teams, but called the legislation a preemptive effort in response to an executive order President Joe Biden signed that prohibited discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere. 

Similar legislation has been introduced in at least 20 states so far this year. 

A similar measure was approved in Idaho but blocked by a court.