Noem Signs Executive Orders and, for the Second Time, Passes on Signing Bill Banning Biological Males From Women’s Sports

Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem again chose not to sign a bill banning biological males from women's sports Monday after lawmakers voted against making her suggested changes to the legislation.

The South Dakota House rejected Noem's style-and-form veto of H.B. 1217 on Monday, the state's Veto Day, by a vote of 67 to 2. The vote sent the bill back to Noem, who returned the bill to the House the same day with a failure to certify, the Rapid City Journal reported.

South Dakota House Speaker Spencer Gosch ruled Thursday that Noem's action counted as a veto, but the House vote to override the governor's veto failed 45-24.

The governor, who has come under heavy fire from conservatives in the past few weeks for failing to sign the bill, had previously and repeatedly emphasized that she had not yet vetoed H.B. 1217. On Monday, she again insisted to lawmakers that her decision to return the bill to the House with a failure to certify did not equate to a veto.

"Returning the bill is not a veto," she wrote in a Monday letter. "Rather, the constitution provides that the legislature's failure to accept my recommendations requires that the bill be treated as if it was vetoed."

The governor also sent a second letter to lawmakers Monday in which she announced two executive orders: one to "protect fairness in K-12 athletics" and another to "do so in college athletics."


Noem Letter To Lawmakers On… by Mary Margaret Olohan

In the letter, Noem reiterated her concerns about HB 1217 and noted that though her critics point out that several other states have "taken action on this topic," the legislation passed in other states is different than South Dakota's bill.

"I raised four concerns in my proposed style-and-form revisions," Noem wrote, citing "the performance-enhancing drug ban section, which is not limited to protecting girls sports" and "the cause of action section which would have turned any failure to make a sports team into a litigation hazard."

Noem also cited "the onerous paperwork requirement, which required every parent of a school-aged child to turn in paperwork every year that identified whether the parent's child was a boy or a girl and to address whether their child has taken performance enhancing drugs in the last year" as well as "the provision on applying the law at the collegiate level."

A spokesman for Noem did not respond to further requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The American Principles Project President Terry Schilling told the DCNF Monday afternoon that Noem's "supposedly small tweaks" weren't actually small, but "fundamentally subverted the entire bill."

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"And when the state legislature rightly rejected Noem's changes, 67-2, she was left with a final choice: back up her claim to be a defender of girl athletes by signing the bill or complete her capitulation to the woke NCAA and activist business interests by letting it die," Schilling said. "Unfortunately, she chose the latter, making her the only Republican governor to date to refuse to sign legislation protecting girls' sport when given the opportunity. So much for leading a coalition."

Jon Schweppe, APP's director of policy and government affairs, insisted to the DCNF that the governor has vetoed HB 1217, though she is attempting to make a distinction between a "veto" and a "vetoed bill."

"She had a chance to sign it into law, twice, and she passed both times," Schweppe said.

"Voters are smarter than that," Schweppe said. "The bill now heads back to the House and Senate needing a two thirds majority in both chambers. We are anticipating a vote within the next hour or two."

The DCNF previously reported that the governor was wavering in her support for the legislation due to pressure from various interest groups in South Dakota. Though Noem said as recently as March 8 that she was "excited" to sign the legislation, her spokesman later told the DCNF that the governor was still weighing the bill.


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