State Watch

Kristi Noem rejects signing transgender sports bill

South Dakota’s GOP governor declined on Friday to sign a bill from legislators in her own party that would have banned transgender girls from participating in women’s high school sports.

In a statement released on Twitter, Noem said that she was sending the bill back to lawmakers for changes, and indicated that she thought the ban should not be extended to college athletes.

“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 wrote.

“I am also concerned that the approach House Bill 1217 takes is unrealistic in the context of collegiate athletics,” she added, writing that banning transgender athletes from collegiate sports would cause conflict with national college athletic associations.

Republicans in the state legislature who supported the bill called Noem’s effort to force them to make changes to the legislation “inappropriate.”

“Legislators are the ones who makes the laws and the governor signs them,” state Rep. Rhonda Milstead (R), who sponsored the bill, told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. “She’s gutting the bill and writing a new law and that’s not her job.”

As currently written, the bill would require students to submit a form verifying their age, biological sex and a lack of steroid usage in order to be eligible for high school athletic programs.

An analysis from the Human Rights Campaign earlier this month found that lawmakers in more than half of the states in the union are currently considering bills that would restrict access to sports or health care to transgender people in some way.

Tags Discrimination against transgender people South Dakota
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