Gov. Wolf vetoes bills on poll watchers, transgender athletes

The vetoes made Friday complicate the state budget package.

A closeup of Gov. Tom Wolf

File photo: Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf delivers his budget address for the 2022-23 fiscal year to a joint session of the Pennsylvania House and Senate in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday rejected three bills passed by the Republican majority Legislature, vetoing measures regarding transgender athletes in school sports and poll watchers.

He also struck down the Human Services Code, blowing a hole in the state budget as lawmakers were trying to finish the annual flurry of votes that accompany the annual spending plan.

Wolf had previously warned he would strike down the bill to prohibit transgender athletes from playing sports that align with their gender identity. In his veto message, he said the bill would have “a devastating impact on a vulnerable population already at greater risk of bullying and depression.”

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He also vetoed a bill — sponsored by Franklin County Sen. Doug Mastriano, the GOP’s nominee for governor — to let all registered voters of Pennsylvania serve as poll watchers in any precinct in the state.

“This bill does nothing to increase access to voting,” he wrote. “Instead, this bill undermines the integrity of our election process and encourages voter intimidation.”

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