The governor had previously signaled support for the legislation, according to the Associated Press. He explained in his veto letter that the bill "falls short" of laying out a uniform policy for what Holcomb said was "fairness in K-12 sports."
Holcomb also cited the state's athletic association in his decision. The Indiana High School Athletic Association already has a policy for trans students who want to play on school sports teams that match their gender identity. The organization has said that there have hardly been hardly any requests from trans girls, according to the AP.
"The presumption of the policy laid out in HEA 1041 is that there is an existing problem in K-12 sports in Indiana that requires further state government intervention," Holcomb wrote. "It implies that the goals of consistency and fairness in competitive female sports are not currently being met. After thorough review, I find no evidence to support either claim even if I support the effort overall."
While Holcomb may have vetoed the bill, Indiana lawmakers can override the veto with a simple majority in both the state's House and Senate. Those votes could happen starting on May 24.
The bill would ban K-12 trans girls from participating in girls' or women's sports. It would not prevent trans boys from playing on boys' teams.
There are 11 other states, GOP-led, that have adopted such laws that advocates say are detrimental to trans youth and unnecessary. Democrats in the state have said that Republicans have only been following a conservative movement in the country by trying to pass the law.
"Signing House Bill 1041 into law would have put the lives of our children in jeopardy," state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Schmuhl said, according to the AP. "However, this unnecessary debate has set a tone with kids that being transgender means something is wrong with them."
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana has said it planned to sue if the bill becomes law.
\u201c\ud83c\udf89BREAKING: Governor Holcomb has vetoed the ban on trans girls in school sports that had passed out of the Indiana legislature.\u201d