West Virginia Gov Jim Justice vows to sign legislation protecting women's spaces: 'I'll sign it very proudly'

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West Virginia could become the latest state to adopt legislation aimed at protecting women’s rights with the adoption of House Bill 5243, which aims to define sex-based terms used in state law. 

Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice appeared on “America’s Newsroom” alongside former NCAA Division 1 swimmer Riley Gaines to announce his plans to sign the “West Virginia Women’s Bill of Rights.” 

Riley Gaines speaks during a discussion on transgender athletes in women’s sports during a National Girls and Women in Sports Day event on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“We’re really, really proud of this Women’s Bill of Rights,” Gov. Justice said. “When it gets to my desk, I’ll sign it, and I’ll sign it very proudly. But really and truly, it’s just another step.”

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Four other states have already adopted versions of a Women’s Bill of Rights, including most recently in Oklahoma in August.

“I’m a basketball coach. I’m coaching girls basketball on a high school level. I’ve been doing it for a long, long time,” Gov. Justice added. “This is absolutely essential in many, many ways for us to stand up for women and do the right thing.” 

The bill, which was introduced last week, seeks to define sex-based terms, provide “separate single-sex environments” based on “biology,” and ensure the accuracy of public data collection. 

Jim Justice

Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice delivers his State of the State at the West Virginia Capitol, Charleston, West Virginia, Jan. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Chris Jackson, File)

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Gaines, an OutKick contributor and host of OutKick’s “Gaines for Girls” podcast, voiced her support for the new piece of legislation. 

“I think it’s necessary, and unfortunately, I think it’s urgent that we get this done, not just here in West Virginia, but across the nation,” Gaines said, adding, “It’s really setting the precedent for the rest of the states in the nation.”

Riley Gaines testifies

Former collegiate swimmer Riley Gaines testifies during a House Oversight Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services hearing on Capitol Hill Dec. 5, 2023 in Washington, D.C. The hearing focused on the Biden administration’s proposed rule changes to Title IX to redefine the definition of sexual discrimination to include gender identity. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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In March 2023, Gov. Justice signed a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors, including gender-affirming surgery. That bill went into effect earlier this month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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