South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has garnered a lot of attention over the last year – much of it for praiseworthy stands that she has taken. So it was disappointing that after initially promising to quickly sign a South Dakota bill that would keep biological boys out of girls’ sports, she has suddenly changed her mind and announced that she plans to veto big parts of it.
It’s no secret that Gov. Noem has national aspirations, so it’s time she hears from a national audience. Would you ask Gov. Noem to fully protect girls’ sports by retracting her veto threat and signing the bill?
Last night, she took to Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, where she attempted to defend her new position by saying that she needed to accommodate the NCAA to avoid a lawsuit. She claimed she wouldn’t be bullied by the NCAA, yet she already gave in to them without a fight. She likewise derided “conservatives on the right” whom she accused of also trying to bully her.
But what would Gov. Noem’s partial veto actually do? Her action would significantly weaken the legislation in three ways:
- Her promised veto removes the enforcement mechanism. It leaves no avenue for a parent or female athlete to take legal action against a liberal school district that decides to ignore the law.
- Second, it removes college sports – a giant omission – because of the threat of an NCAA lawsuit and her fear of losing out on hosting conference championships.
- Third, it would force reliance on birth certificates for determining who is eligible to participate in girls’ sports. Since it’s possible in South Dakota for someone to change their gender on their birth certificate, this determination method would leave a gaping loophole.
Frankly, her veto would also be unconstitutional. The South Dakota constitution allows the governor to make “style and form” changes, but her veto removes half of the language.
In addition, legal experts who have been engaged on this issue believe that her changes would actually make it MORE likely that the law would lose in a legal challenge – due to the inconsistency between policies for high school and college athletes.
Thankfully, it’s not too late to encourage Gov. Noem to go ahead and sign the original bill.
Thanks for speaking up!