South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) on Monday vetoed a bill that would bar trans athletes from participating in women's sports, something that is overwhelmingly popular in the state. Noem previously sent back the bill to the state legislature, under the "Style and Form" revision process. According to the governor, "legal scholars" have warned her about the potential lawsuits associated with the bill, especially when it comes to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and their demands. Instead, she wanted to form a coalition to take on those who file litigation against South Dakota, something that would be a strain on the state's small budget.
The news comes after the legislature voted 67-2 to reject Noem's "Style and Form" veto. Noem had the ability to sign the bill, as is, into law, or veto it. The governor vetoed the bill and instead issued two executive orders, aimed at protecting K-12 athletics and collegiate athletics.
In a thread on Twitter, Noem said she plans to call a special session on this issue, as well as medical marijuana and the latest COVID relief package.
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)— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 29, 2021
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)— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 29, 2021
Conservatives were upset with Noem's decision. Fox News' Tucker Carlson questioned the governor, saying, "I'm not really sure how this is defending women's sports." Noem spokesman Ian Fury said the Republican Party's rising star has fallen victim to so-called "conservative cancel culture" because of this issue.