LINCOLN–(KFOR Apr. 4)–A bill to define K-12 school bathrooms and sporting teams based on students’ sex at birth will head to the floor of the Nebraska Legislature, after members of the Education Committee advanced it Thursday with a 5-2 vote.

LB 575, the Sports and Spaces Act, from Omaha Senator Kathleen Kauth doesn’t reference gender identity and defines sex based on X or Y chromosomes. In an opinion issued by Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers this week, he said the bill is constitutional and would not violate federal laws, such as the Equal Protection Clause or Title IX. The bill doesn’t reference gender identity and defines sex based on X or Y chromosomes.

Hilgers said state law allows, but does not require, educational institutions to maintain separate toilet facilities, locker rooms or living facilities for different sexes. He argued that if “sex” was expanded in Title IX definitions to include sexual orientation or gender identity — as it has been in employment cases through Title VII — it would “render Title IX illogical.”

Following the Education committee’s vote to advance LB 575 to the floor for debate, OutNebraska issued a statement, saying in an email to KFOR News, “By excluding kids from sports, or not allowing them to continue using the school facilities they’ve been using, LB 575 sends the message that not everyone is welcome. Singling out kids who want to belong will only harm them in the long term.”

There are just a few days left in the 60-day legislative session. Speaker John Arch said the debate on LB575 is expected to happen Friday at noon. Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh vowed to filibuster the bill.

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