Indiana News

Mayor Ballard tells GOP: Let veto stand on bill about transgender athletes

INDIANPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana GOP-dominated legislature will return Tuesday to the Statehouse with plans to override Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto of a bill about transgender athletes.

A fellow Republican and former mayor of Indianapolis says allowing the law to take effect is a bad idea. 

Former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is in town for the Indianapolis 500. Ballard told I-Team on Friday that he’s raising a red flag for Republican state lawmakers, telling them to let Holcomb’s veto stand on the bill about transgender athletes. The bill would prohibit transgender girls from playing in school-sponsored sports. Holcomb vetoed it in March, but lawmakers will meet next week to try to override that. 

Ballard says the transgender bill does nothing for Indiana except create what he calls another unnecessary law.

  • See the full interview with former Mayor Greg Ballard at 9:30 a.m. Sunday on “All INdiana Politics” on WISH-TV

Ballard said, “Well, unfortunately, I think they are probably going to override the veto. I hope that they don’t, because this was an unnecessary bill. The IHSAA (Indiana High School Athletic Association) has been on top of this for years. There is no participating incident whatsoever. This seems to be a law that’s made up and, as Republicans, they should be looking at limited government, what’s the right thing to do, why have the oppressive arm of government solve this issue, solve the problem for which there is no issue.”

Ballard was mayor of Indianapolis from 2008 through Jan. 1, 2016.

In 2015, Ballard pushed back on state lawmakers over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as did thousands of other Hoosiers. Opponents said the bill targeted LGBT people. Supporters claimed the RFRA law protected the exercise of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.

The widespread protests, led by major Indiana employers, caused then-Gov. Mike Pence and lawmakers to amend the RFRA law 10 days after it had passed.

Ballard said Friday that the transgender bill, like RFRA, will divide the state and could make it difficult to recruit new businesses to Indiana.