SD House Speaker to Reject Gov. Kristi Noem’s Request to Rework Bill on Transgender Athletes

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announces on Monday, June 22, 2020, that city and county governments will be able to access federal coronavirus relief funds as she speaks at the Sioux Falls city hall in Sioux Falls, S.D. (AP Photo/Stephen Groves)
AP Photo/Stephen Groves

The battle over legislation in South Dakota to prevent biological men from competing against biological women in school sports will come to a head on “Veto Day,” which takes place on Monday — also the last day of the state’s legislation session.

And now House Speaker Spencer Gosch, a Republican, announced he would recommend lawmakers reject Gov. Kristi Noem’s controversial stance to not veto House Bill 1217 but to ask for revisions to it, including removing the language to eliminate the ban in collegiate sports and removing the requirement for birth certificate sex to be proven annually.

As Breitbart News reported last week, Noem said at a press conference she was asking lawmakers to consider a “style and form” veto that asked for changes.

“I will be recommending that the House of Representatives rejects Governor Noem’s proposal as unconstitutional,” Gosch said in a statement, a local news outlet reported Saturday.

According to the state government’s website, there are protocols for style and form vetoes:

The Governor may strike any items of any bill passed by the Legislature making appropriations. The procedure for reconsidering items struck by the Governor shall be the same as is prescribed for the passage of bills over the executive veto. All items not struck shall become law as provided herein.

Bills with errors in style or form may be returned to the Legislature by the Governor with specific recommendations for change. Bills returned shall be treated in the same manner as vetoed bills except that specific recommendations for change as to style or form may be approved by a majority vote of all the members of each house. If the Governor certifies that the bill conforms with the Governor’s specific recommendations, the bill shall become law. If the Governor fails to certify the bill, it shall be returned to the Legislature as a vetoed bill.

Noem has been criticized mostly by conservatives who claim she caved to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) because of its sway in college athletics. The association supports biological men who describe themselves as transgender women competing in college sports. 

Noem said at the press conference she and other stakeholders have decided a way to protect Title IX, the federal statute that protects women athletes from discrimination based on their biological sex, is through a national coalition that could push back on the transgender athletics movement.

Noem also defended her stance on the issue by telling reporters how three years ago she fought and succeeded in keeping the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) from allowing boys and girls to compete against each other in 4-H rodeo.

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