Arkansas became the second state this year to ban transgender athletes from participating in sporting events Thursday.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, after the measure passed through the state House with overwhelming support earlier this week.
The bill bans transgender women and girls from being allowed to participate in female sporting events.
“This law simply says that female athletes should not have to compete in a sport against a student of the male sex when the sport is designed for women’s competition,” Hutchinson said in a statement Thursday. “This will help promote and maintain fairness in women’s sporting events.”
Proponents of the bill argue it will ensure females have an equal playing field when it comes to sporting events, as biologically born males have a physical advantage over female competitors. But opponents of anti-transgender bills, have called the legislation unconstitutional and discriminatory.
Fox News could not immediately obtain comment from the governor on whether he is concerned about negative backlash the state’s college-level athletes could receive, due to NCAA’s inclusion policies for transgender athletics.
The Arkansas law comes after Mississippi became the first state to ban transgender athletes competing in school and college-level sporting events.
But South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who originally threw her support behind state legislation banning transgender athletes, returned a bill to the state last week, citing concerns that collegiate level athletes would lose out on national tournaments because of the NCAA’s transgender participation policies.
Legislation across the U.S. targeting transgender athletes has nearly doubled this year with 42 bills introduced in 26 states, Freedom for All Americans, an LGBTQ advocacy group, told Fox News.