South Dakota’s House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill championed by Gov. Kristi Noem (R) requiring K-12 and collegiate athletes to compete against athletes of their own sex, as opposed to their gender identity.
Senate Bill 46, called Fairness in Women’s Sports, is headed to Noem’s desk for signature after it was passed 50-17 — with opposition from seven Democrats and ten Republicans.
The bill proposed by Noem, who recently told Fox News Sunday it was the “strongest bill in the nation” that bans men from competing in girls’ sports.
“This is about fairness,” she said. “This is about making sure that our girls have a chance to be successful and to compete, to win scholarships, potentially go on to play professional sports beyond that. We want them to have the opportunity to do that.”
This bill comes as Noem controversially blocked a similar bill, House Bill 1217, last year, saying the “style and form” was unworkable, and she told Breitbart News at the time she was worried about giving the government too much power.
“I take my guidance from the Constitution,” she told Breitbart News Washington Bureau Chief Matthew Boyle. “I swore an oath to that. It’s very important to me that I adhere to that oath. The government that you make too big and too powerful and give leaders that kind of authority that the Constitution doesn’t give them will be powerful enough to take away your freedom too.”
But there are significant differences between Noem’s bill and HB 1217.
While HB 1217 relied on a written statement from a child’s parents confirming their biological sex and that they had not taken any performance enhancing drugs, such as anabolic steroids, Noem’s bill would rely on the child’s birth certificate — an official document. The old bill also did not define what “performance enhancing drugs” were, and that provision has been removed from SB 46.
Related to performance enhancing drugs, but tied to boys’ sports, HB 1217 also provided that a student who was cut from a team in favor of another student who was found to have taken steroids, for example, that the student who was cut could sue. At the time, Noem called the bill “a trial lawyer’s dream.”
Noem’s bill also removed a provision from the old bill that would allow for pain and suffering payouts for psychological and emotional damages to students who were denied the ability to play against students of the opposite sex. In SB 46, for example, a student would be able to file a lawsuit for the potential injunctive relief of playing the sport, not for financial gain.
Likewise, HB 1217 would have forced schools being sued to defend themselves and pay for the court fees. In the new bill, the government of South Dakota would defend the school, making the state accountable for the bill.
Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.
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