Kristi Noem Defends Decision to Send Transgender Athlete Bill Back to Lawmakers

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is explaining the rationale behind her decision last week to veto a transgender athlete bill and send it back to the state legislature for some changes after initially proclaiming she would sign it.

Just the News reported:

Noem, considered a top potential 2024 presidential candidate, said at a press conference that she’ll sign the bill after legislators make what she considers minor changes – limiting the ban to high school and elementary schools for male athletes who identify as female athletes.

The governor does want such a ban on college athletics at this time, she said, over concerns about the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s standing on the matter.

“The NCAA is a private association,” Noem said. “That means they can do what they want to do. And even though I fundamentally disagree with them when it comes to this issue, if South Dakota passes a law that’s against their policy, they will likely take punitive action against us.”

For that, she was blasted on social media and beyond.

“We are extremely disappointed to see Gov. Noem break her word on this critical legislation,” said Terry Schilling who serves as the president of the American Principles Project, according to Conservative Brief. “Gov. Noem’s veto would scrap the vast majority of the bill text and would strip protections for female athletes in collegiate sports in the state. Additionally, it would eliminate all reasonable enforcement mechanisms, neutering the legislation so much as to render it meaningless.”

“All the while, Noem continues to claim dubiously that she still supports the bill, hoping South Dakotans will ignore the fact she was responsible for killing it,” he said.

That sentiment was shared by many conservatives on Twitter, many of whom had been supporters of the South Dakota governor.

“What a huge mistake ~ I’m talked to several cons who have written her off. You can’t betray the base. Period. Gov. Kristi Noem ‘Misusing Her Executive Power’ in Sending Back Bill Banning Trans Athletes from Women Sports,” Kurt Schlichter said.

“I’m done with Noem. That bill was a no brainer but she RINO’d out and capitulated to the woke mob,” John Cardillo added.

Noem pushed back, however.

“Since Nov, I’ve been exploring litigation to defend Title IX and fairness in girls’ sports at ALL levels. To pursue that strategy, I’m asking legislators to pass a new bill on Veto Day, or I will call a special session. Let’s protect girls’ sports & fix the concerns with 1217,” she said.

Also, in a letter to state lawmakers outlining her veto, she made it clear her core beliefs had not changed about the issue and that she has to weigh those concerns with the reality of seeing state collegiate athletes punished.

“I believe that boys should play boys’ sports, and girls should play girls’ sports. As the legislative findings in the original version of the bill set out, ‘[w]ith respect to biological sex, one is either male or female[,]’ and ‘[p]hysiological differences between males and females include ‘those most important for success in sport: categorically different strength, speed, and endurance.’

“That is why House Bill 1217 properly provides that females should have opportunities to play youth sports on teams comprised of females and against teams of females. 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,” she added.

“South Dakota has shown that our student athletes can compete with anyone in the country, but competing on the national stage means compliance with the national governing bodies that oversee collegiate athletics. While I certainly do not always agree with the actions these sanctioning bodies take, I understand that collegiate athletics requires such a system – a fifty-state patchwork is not workable,” she wrote.

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