SD Gov. Noem Reacts to Lawmakers Rejection of Trans Bill Revision with Executive Orders

Following South Dakota lawmakers rejecting Gov. Kristi Noem’s request for revisions of House Bill 1217, legislation to protect women’s athletes rights under federal statute Title IX, the governor is issuing two executive orders to protect women from competing against biological men who consider themselves transgender women at the high school and collegiate level.

“Only girls should play girls’ sports. 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. (1/3),” Noem posted on Twitter on Monday.

“Additionally, I will be working with legislative leaders to schedule a special legislative session in late May or early June. The special session will address this important issue, as well others (medicinal marijuana and the latest federal spending package.) (2/3),” Noem tweeted.

The Argus Leader reported on the development:

Immediately following the South Dakota Legislature’s failure to override Noem’s own veto of the measure that would have made it illegal for both college and high school athletes from playing in sports designated that don’t align with their biological sex, the governor’s office announced the signing of a pair of executive orders that mirror what she’d hoped lawmakers would pass.

Noem is directing the Department of Education to create policy banning transgender girls from playing K-12 sports designated for girls, while the second order encourages the state’s Board of Regents, which oversees public universities, to do the same but only so far is it won’t jeapordize the state’s standing with organizations like the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which has inclusion policies allowing transgender athletes to play in sports of their choosing.

She called the executive orders a “temporary” fix to a fairness issue, biding time for a special session to be held where the Legislature could put similar directives into law. It could also revisit the topic of marijuana and the latest federal stimulus dollars received by South Dakota.

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