The South Dakota House voted again to pass a bill banning biological males from women’s sports, rejecting Gov. Kristi Noem’s “style and form” veto and sending it back to her desk.
The House voted 67-2 in favor of sending the bill back to Noem’s desk for her signature while rejecting changes she proposed that critics said would gut the bill. The bill, H.B. 1217, dubbed the Fairness in Women’s Sports act, was meant to protect the integrity of women’s sports by effectively banning transgender females from competing on women’s teams from the collegiate level down.
Noem blocked the bill on March 19 by a “style and form” veto in which she sent the bill back to the legislature with suggested changes. Critics alleged that her changes gutted the bill by removing protections from the collegiate level.
“Vote to pass the governor’s style and form veto on the Fairness for [Women’s] Sports bill fails 2-67. The bill now goes back to the governor for her to either sign or veto. House believes her style-and-form is unconstitutional,” GOP state Rep. Fred Deutsch tweeted on Friday.
Vote to pass the governor's style and form veto on the Fairness for Woemn's Sports bill fails 2-67. The bill now goes back to the governor for her to either sign or veto. House believes her style-and-form is unconstitutional.
— Rep. Fred Deutsch (@FredDeutsch) March 29, 2021
Noem had originally pledged to sign the bill weeks before it reached her desk in March. She backed off that pledge and said that should it become law, it would likely get struck down in court as it is currently written. She also added that the NCAA had threatened to pull collegiate tournaments from her state.
“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 in a letter to state lawmakers after vetoing the bill. “I am also concerned that the approach House Bill 1217 takes is unrealistic in the context of collegiate athletics.”
Noem earned a reputation as a steadfast conservative during the coronavirus pandemic by refusing to lock down her state and largely allowing South Dakota residents to make their own judgments regarding the virus. That reputation has faced serious questions in recent days after she backed off her support for the Fairness in Women’s Sports bill.
On Wednesday, Noem spokesman Ian Fury hit back at critics asserting that the governor was a victim of “cancel culture” from conservatives.
“Governor Noem is very used to fighting off criticism from the left,” Noem spokesman Ian Fury said in an email. “After all, in the past year, she was the only governor in the entire nation to never order a single business or church in her state to close. The left bullied her incessantly, but she didn’t cave.”
“But if any number of conservative pundits are to be believed, that same governor who refused to cave is now caving to the NCAA and Amazon on the issue of fairness in women’s sports,” Fury continued. “What? Apparently, uninformed cancel culture is fine when the right is eating their own.”