South Dakota Governor Bans Transgender Sports activities By way of Government Order: NPR
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 27 at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida. Joe Raedle / Getty Images hide subtitles
Joe Raedle / Getty Images
Joe Raedle / Getty Images
After failed negotiations between Republican governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, and the state legislature, the governor issued two executive orders on Monday to limit participation in school sports teams of women and girls to those who are at birth Women were assigned.
Earlier this month, state lawmakers passed law banning transgender athletes from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity. After Noem signaled support – even excitement – for the bill, he declined to sign it, fearing that the law would not weather legal challenges. Instead, she asked lawmakers to revise the language of the legislation. There was a major Conservative backlash, and South Dakota lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on Monday.
“Only girls should do girls’ sports,” tweeted Noem on Monday evening. “Given that lawmakers will not accept my proposed changes to HB 1217, I am immediately signing two executive orders to address this issue: one to protect fairness in K-12 athletics and another to protect college athletics. “
Only girls should do girls’ sports. Given that lawmakers will not accept my proposed changes to HB 1217, I am immediately signing two executive orders to address this issue: one to protect fairness in K-12 athletics and another to protect college athletics. (1/3)
– Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 29, 2021
None of the governor’s orders specifically mention transgender athletes, but Mark Miller, the governor’s general counsel, said that since lawmakers had not approved Noem’s amendments to the bill, she made the orders as a temporary fix.
The Department of Education and the Board of Regents must ensure that K-12 school districts, colleges and universities limit participation in girls’ and women’s sports to athletes who can provide evidence of their assigned gender at birth.
“I think the executive orders speak for themselves,” says Miller. “They state that the DOE and BOR should take steps to ensure that girls practice girls’ sports.”
According to Miller, the orders are intended to clarify where South Dakota stands on this issue. Legislators in several other states passed laws earlier this year trying to change the rights of transgender people.
Governor Noem says she will work with lawmakers to schedule a special legislative session in late May or early June this year to resolve the issue through legislation, along with other pending matters in the state.
Dan Swartos, director of the state sports association, says South Dakota has had a policy since 2013 that any transgender athlete who wants to do school sports must obtain documents from their doctor that identify them as transgender. Then an independent hearing officer determines whether the athlete has a competitive advantage. Since the directive was introduced, only one transgender female athlete has been allowed to practice girls’ sports in the state.