President Joe Biden signed many executive orders on his first day in office. Among the orders, one is particularly baffling. Biden ordered all federal agencies to enforce a U.S. Supreme Court decision from last year that expanded the definition of sex discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The purpose is to address transgender discrimination in athletics. But that’s not the president’s job. First, federal agencies don’t need an executive order to enforce the law. Second, this massive government overreach is unnecessary since sporting activities are stringently governed by the National College Athletics Association and (in Montana) the Montana High School Athletics Association. The NCAA and the MHSA are already required to abide by federal anti-discrimination laws, and they do. Biden’s “feel good legislation” from the executive branch violates the separation of powers doctrine, is unnecessary, and wastes taxpayer dollars and time.
Likewise, Kalispell Rep. John Fuller’s House Bill 112, the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” which requires athletes to participate in sports teams based upon their biological sex, is equally appalling. Fuller desires for government to dictate school sports teams’ qualifications to “save women” from transgender participants. (Men apparently don’t need “saving.”) Nevermind that MHSA and the NCAA have been making these determinations for decades. In expanding state government, Fuller disregards the faith Republicans place in institutions other than government — families, schools, congregations, neighborhoods — to advance their ideals. These institutions — including the NCAA and MHSA — according to the Republican Platform: “create spaces where the power of government should not intrude. They allow Americans to work together to solve most of the problems facing their communities.” By advancing these institutions, government intervention is reduced and the size and scope of government remain limited.
So, when any Republican legislator seeks to expand government into areas already regulated, every Republican should perk up. “Feel good” legislation proffered by a so-called Republican to fix society’s perceived ails in the same Joe Biden Big Brother I-will-take-care-of-you fashion doesn’t become good legislation simply because it’s a Republican-sponsored bill. Indeed it is more infuriating when a Republican seeks to expand government than when a Democrat does. Democrats aren’t opposed to expanding government; Republicans are. Limited government is a pillar of our platform. And “feel good” legislation that is duplicative to an already highly regulated activity blatantly violates the Republican Platform and its admonition: “over-regulation is the quiet tyranny of the Nanny State.” When a barely functional government takes over issues best dealt with by other portions of society, it increases unnecessarily. Of all of the problems President Biden and Representative Fuller should focus on, governing athletic participation is not on the list. Both of their proposals are a gross extension of government, redundant and unnecessary.
Tammi Fisher is an attorney and former mayor of Kalispell.
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