South Dakota governor signs executive orders barring transgender athletes from women's sports

South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemRepublican former South Dakota House Speaker challenging Noem Noem's daughter to turn in real estate appraiser license amid scrutiny Noem formally launches reelection campaign MORE (R) has signed executive orders barring transgender athletes from women’s sports in the state.

Only girls should play girls’ sports,” Noem tweeted on Monday. “Given the legislature’s failure to accept my proposed revisions to HB 1217, I am immediately signing two executive orders to address this issue: one to protect fairness in K-12 athletics, and another to do so in college athletics.”

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The executive orders direct the state’s Department of Education and Board of Regents to align its policies so only those who are biologically female can participate in women’s sports. 

Last week, Noem refused to sign the GOP bill barring transgender athletes from women’s sports.

"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 at the time when she refused to sign the bill.

There has only been one transgender woman who played in a women’s sports league since 2013, said Dan Swartos, the director of the athletic association for the state, NPR reported.

Previously, transgender athletes had to have proof from a doctor that they were transgender and go in front of a hearing officer to determine if they had a competitive advantage, according to NPR.

Along with South Dakota, Michigan is also considering a bill that would bar transgender athletes from playing on sports teams that align with their gender.