A popular bill to protect women’s sports in South Dakota is no more after a back-and-forth between lawmakers and the state’s Republican governor came to a head on Monday.
The state House went against Gov. Kristi Noem and rejected a controversial “style and form” veto of House Bill 127, in a lopsided 67-2 vote, Fox News reported. However, Noem then rejected the bill outright, and it died in the legislature.
South Dakota House goes against Noem
Noem, often described as a 2024 contender, found herself engulfed in controversy this March when she withdrew her support of the “Women’s Fairness in Sports” bill that bars transgenders from competing with female athletes.
She handed down a polarizing “style and form” veto asking for an exemption for college sports that conservatives critics called a capitulation on an important issue.
“The recommended changes will substantially change the content of the bill. The legality was removed, which leaves the bill with a very weak authority. Removing the collegiate is simply saying that biology matters in high school, but not in college,” lead Senate sponsor, Republican Maggie Sutton, said.
Noem defended herself by citing possible retaliation from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and insisting that the bill’s language would make it difficult to win court cases.
On Monday, the South Dakota House officially rejected the “style and form” veto, which would have needed a simple majority in both chambers to pass.
Bill dies after Noem’s veto
However, it didn’t end there. After the House rejected Noem’s desired alterations, she vetoed the bill completely, and it died in the legislature after failing to garner the two-thirds vote necessary in both houses for an override. The Senate adjourned without weighing the matter.
Noem followed up her veto with executive orders which, she says, will protect women’s sports.
She also says she’ll call a special session in May or June to consider the issue again.
“Given the Legislature’s failure to accept my proposed revisions to HB 1217, I am immediately signing two executive orders to address this issue,” she said in a statement.
Despite the bill’s failure, a conservative response to a push for transgender inclusion by President Joe Biden and the Democrats is clearly forming, with bills recently signed in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi to protect women’s sports.