The South Dakota State Legislature voted Monday to reject Gov. Kristi Noem’s “style and form” veto of House Bill 1217, a measure that would effectively bar transgender youth from participating in women’s sports at the college level and below.
The state’s House of Representatives rejected Noem’s veto on the “Women’s Fairness in Sports” bill by a 67-2 vote. The governor, who had previously signaled her support for the bill, declined to sign the measure unless lawmakers accepted changes that would exempt collegiate sports from the ban.
“Vote to pass the governor’s style and form veto on the Fairness for Woemn’s [sic] Sports bill fails 2-67,” State Rep. Fred Deutsch, a Republican, wrote on Twitter. “The bill now goes back to the governor for her to either sign or veto. House believes her style-and-form is unconstitutional.”
Proponents of HB 1217 – and similar proposals in other states – argue that allowing transgender youth to participate in girls’ sports is harmful to competition. Critics of the bill argue its clauses are discriminatory toward transgender people.
Earlier in March, Noem tweeted that she was “excited to sign this bill very soon. But the governor, who is considered a potential presidential candidate in 2024, later said that she would not accept the proposal.
Noem said the bill, as originally constructed, would likely be shot down in court if it were to pass. She argued the bill’s passage would have negative consequences for South Dakota if the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or other organizations opposed to the ban decided to take action.
“The NCAA is a private association — that means they can do what they want to do,” Noem said at a press conference earlier this month. “If South Dakota passes a law that’s against their policy, they will likely take punitive action against us. That means they can pull their tournaments from the state of South Dakota, they could pull their home games, they could even prevent our athletes from playing in their league.”
After the vote to reject the veto, the bill reverted to Noem, who sent it back for consideration in the state legislature. Both chambers of the state legislature would need a two-thirds vote to override the veto and pass the bill. HB 1217 is expected to fall short of the required thresholds.
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