The South Dakota State Legislature rejected Governor Kristi Noem’s “style and form” veto of a bill that would ban transgender women and girls from playing girl’s and women’s sports in the state.

The South Dakota House of Representatives rejected Noem’s veto (Noem has insisted it’s not really a veto) of the “Women’s Fairness in Sports” bill by a huge margin: 67-2.

Noem had refused to sign the bill, which she had said previously that she supported, and sent it back to the State House, and asked for changes that would, according to Fox, exempt collegiate sports from the ban. 

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Legislature Rejects “Style And Form Changes,” Bill Dies

Gov. Noem had sent sent the bill back to the Legislature for “style and form” changes. What the Governor wanted to eliminate from the ban was the restrictions on the state’s public universities.

Supporters of the bill said that this would “water it down enough to make it almost meaningless.”

The bill has been through a back and forth of legislative procedure, but in sum:

The State House declined to make Noem’s changes, so the bill went back to her desk. Governor Noem then “failed to certify” the bill, and sent it back to the House. 

At that point, the State Legislature needed a two-thirds vote to override the Governor’s action. That effort failed in the House by a vote of 45-24, and the State Senate adjourned, ending their legislative session. 

For the moment, the bill is considered dead unless special action is taken.

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Conservative Reaction To Noem’s Veto 

Representative Rhonda Milstead, who sponsored the bill, said she was “disappointed” in Noam’s style and form veto: “The recommended changes will substantially change the content of the bill. The legality was removed, which leaves the bill with a very weak authority. Removing the collegiate is simply saying that biology matters in high school, but not in college.”

Terry Schilling, President of the American Principles Project, a Washington D.C.-based group that works with pro-family organizations to “engage directly in campaigns and elections,” said in a statement,

“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.”

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Noem Tries To Explain Her Position

According to a report in the Grand Forks Herald, Noem had reached out to many local and regional media outlets to explain her position on the bill and her claim that she did in fact support it. 

But in a somewhat testy interview with Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson, Carlson asked Noem outright if she had changed her mind about supporting the bill, a bill which is very popular among South Dakotans, because of pressure from “big business.”

Namely, the NCAA, chamber of commerce, and Amazon.

Noem insisted that she was not caving to entities like the NCAA, but that the bill in its original form would allow the NCAA to take punitive action against South Dakota.

Noem responded to Carlson’s accusation,

“I’m not interested in a participation trophy. I’m not interested in picking a fight that we can’t win. I am a problem-solver … and I have been bullied for the last year by liberals, Tucker. I’m not going to let anybody from the NCAA, from any big business, I’m not even going to let conservatives on the right bully me. I’m going to solve the problem. 

“I’m going to make sure that we are building strength in numbers and we are going after the NCAA and make sure that we are keeping only girls playing in girls’ sports.”

In an attempt to bring all sides together, on Monday, Noem signed two executive orders she claims banning transgender athletes from playing in girl’s and women’s sports. 

Watch Noem’s segment on Tucker Carlson Tonight:


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