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Noem Takes Executive Action After SD House Fails to Override Veto on Transgender Athletes Bill

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South Dakota's Republican-led legislature failed to override GOP Gov. Kristi Noem's veto after her refusal to sign House Bill 1217, a measure banning transgender athletes from competing in women's and girl's sports. 

The Argus Leader reports the state House of Representatives failed to override Noem's "style and form" veto of the Fairness in Women's Sports Act with a two-thirds vote. 

Noem quickly responded Monday evening by again refusing to sign HB 1217, effectively killing the bill. Her office announced the governor had signed two executive orders that represented what she'd hoped the legislature would pass.

"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," Noem said in a news release early Monday evening.

The governor is directing the South Dakota state Department of Education to create a policy banning transgender girls from playing K-12 sports designated for girls, while the second order encourages the state's Board of Regents, which oversees public universities, to do the same but only so far as it won't jeopardize the state's standing with organizations like the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which has inclusion policies allowing transgender athletes to play in sports of their choosing, according to The Argus Leader

Noem called the executive orders a "temporary" fix to the fairness issue, giving her time to call a special session of the legislature so similar mandates could be drafted into law. Other topics of the session would include marijuana and the federal stimulus money received by The Mount Rushmore State. 

"Additionally, I will be working with legislative leaders to schedule a special legislative session in late May or early June," she said.

Key business groups and figures lobbied heavily against the bill, including the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce. One member of the board of First Premier Bank, which recently worked with Noem to donate $100 million to a state scholarship endowment, traveled to the Capitol, in Pierre, to testify against the bill. If the NCAA canceled its tournaments, it would cost millions of dollars, putting up to 100 full- and part-time jobs at risk, warned the board member, David Zimbeck. Others worried that Amazon would cancel plans for a distribution facility in the state.

Before Monday's vote, CBN News Chief Political Analyst David Brody asked the Republican governor whether she sent the bill back to the state's legislature after corporate pressure from the NCAA and Amazon.

"If this bill was just a K-12 bill, you would sign it," Brody said. "But the problem is the college component here, because the NCAA may sue the state or maybe take their business elsewhere."

"Only girls should be playing in girls' sports. That's not up for dispute," Noem responded. "My goal is really to protect our kids. Make sure that we don't have boys playing in girls' sports at the K thru 12 level and then also at the collegiate level, go fight a battle that we can win."

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins pointed out Monday that the South Dakota House issued a strong rebuke of the NCAA and the tentacles of Big Business that pressured Noem to retreat from her earlier support of the bill.

"The South Dakota House of Representatives today soundly rejected Governor Noem's 'style and form' veto of the Fairness in Women's Sports Act. Governor Noem had another opportunity to sign this bill and stand with the citizens of South Dakota and the legislature. Instead, she failed to listen to South Dakotans and is siding with big business, the NCAA, and the rest of the woke mob on the Left," Perkins said. 
"Far from standing alone as Governor Noem has suggested, signing HB 1217 would have put South Dakota in the company of Idaho, Mississippi, and Arkansas, which have already enacted similar bills into law, with other states poised to follow," he continued. "Despite Governor Noem's refusal to stand up for common sense, the Family Research Council will continue to support efforts in other states pushing back against destructive gender ideologies that threaten our young people, our families, and our freedom."

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of