After reviewing the measure for nearly ten days, Noem took issue with “style and form” within the bill, saying she will sign it if lawmakers agree to the changes.
“I support this legislation and hope that House Bill 1217, with the changes I am proposing, becomes law,” Noem said in a Friday afternoon statement.
The staunch conservative took issue with the wording of the legislation, alleging it left schools and team players vulnerable to lawsuits, and created “unworkable administrative burden[s] on schools” by forcing them to require yearly forms proving sex, age and lack of “performance-enhancing drugs.”
But most notably, she rejected their calls for bans at the collegiate level, telling lawmakers it could mean South Dakota athletes lose out in national tournaments, as the NCAA has inclusion policies for transgender student athletes.
“While I certainly do not always agree with the actions these sanctioning bodies take, I understand that collegiate athletics requires such a system – a fifty-state patchwork is not workable,” she said.
Similar bills have popped up across the country in recent years, with 42 bills introduced in 26 states in 2021 alone, an LGBTQ advocacy group, Freedom for All Americans, confirmed for Fox News.
This year’s legislative efforts have nearly doubled with 22 measures introduced in 2020 — a significant increase in the two bills put forward in 2019.
If South Dakota’s legislature attempts to override the governor’s decision, the state House and Senate would need a two-thirds majority to move forward — a requirement that could prove a challenge for state Republicans.
The state’s House passed the bill in February with strong support in a 50-17 vote. But the Senate proved more divided with a 20-15 vote, falling short of the needed two-thirds majority to bypass the governor.