South Dakota Gov Revives Bill to Ban Transgenders from Girls' Sports
Republican Governor Kristi Noem renews effort to pass legislation
South Dakota's Republican governor, Kristi Noem, is reviving a bill that seeks to protect female sports from being dominated by biological-male transgender athletes.
Gov. Noem is renewing efforts to protect girls' sports after previous legislation failed.
The draft legislation was released Tuesday and includes language that specifically applies to college athletics.
The same language had sunk a previous bill passed by the state legislature earlier this year:
Any interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic team, sport, or athletic event that is sponsored or sanctioned by an accredited school, school district, an athletic association or organization, or an institution of higher education under the control of either the Board of Regents or the Board of Technical Education must be designated as one of the following, based on the biological sex at birth of the participating athletes:
(1) Females, women, or girls;
(2) Males, men, or boys; or
(3) Coeducational or mixed.
“Only female athletes, based on their biological sex, may participate in any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for females, women, or girls,” the bill continues.
It notes that biological sex is defined as the sex listed on the original birth certificate of the individual competitor, either male or female.
The bill also includes legal protection for athletes who are harmed directly or indirectly by a person competing in a sport outside their biological sex.
It also provides options for them to pursue civil action against the school, organization, or college, or university that causes that harm.
Institutions that are in compliance with the law are also protected from being sued by transgender athletes.
Noem also released a statement Tuesday announcing the proposed law and speaking out against recent controversies over biological males competing in women’s sports.
"This is about fairness,” Noem said in the statement.
"Every young woman deserves an equal playing field where she can achieve success, but common sense tells us that males have an unfair physical advantage over females in athletic competition.
"It is for those reasons that only girls should be competing in girls’ sports,” she added.
"Women have fought long and hard for equal athletic opportunities, and South Dakota will defend them, but we have to do it in a smart way."
Noem was at the center of controversy in March 2021 for refusing to sign a law that would have banned transgender athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s sports.
Noem’s “style and form” veto stripped the language addressing collegiate athletics as well as the language that would have provided female athletes with legal recourse if they were harmed by transgender athletes competing in their chosen sport.
“Unfortunately, as I have studied this legislation and conferred with legal experts over the past several days, I have become concerned that this bill’s vague and overly broad language could have significant unintended consequences,” Noem said at the time.
“I am also concerned that the approach House Bill 1217 takes is unrealistic in the context of collegiate athletics.”
Noem instead signed a pair of executive orders that directed state agencies to construct policies protecting girls’ sports in South Dakota.
The move drew harsh criticism from members of the South Dakota legislature and conservative advocacy groups, who accused her of caving to the NCAA and corporate interests.
Noem also involved herself in several spats with high-profile conservatives, including Tucker Carlson and the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh after she vetoed the bill.