Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem again chose not to sign a bill banning males from women’s sports on Monday after lawmakers declined to make her suggested changes to the legislation.
The South Dakota House rejected Noem’s “style and form” veto of the bill on Monday by a vote of 67-2. The vote sent the bill back to Noem, who returned the bill to the House the same day without her signature, the Rapid City Journal reported.
South Dakota Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch ruled that Noem’s action counted as a veto, but a House vote to override the governor’s veto failed.
— Jon “It’s Not A Veto” Schweppe (@JonSchweppe) March 29, 2021
Noem, who has come under heavy fire from conservatives for failing to sign the bill, had previously emphasized that she had not yet vetoed the legislation.
On Monday, she again insisted to lawmakers that her decision to return the bill to the House 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 announced two executive orders on Monday: one to “protect fairness in K-12 athletics” and another to “do so in college athletics.”
Noem reiterated her concerns about the bill and noted that although her critics point out that several other states have barred males from women’s sports, the legislation passed in those states is different than South Dakota’s bill.
Noem cited 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 pointed to “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 on Monday that Noem’s “supposedly small tweaks” actually “fundamentally subverted the entire bill.”
“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, told the DCNF that the governor had in fact vetoed the bill, despite her claims to the contrary.
“She had a chance to sign it into law, twice, and she passed both times,” Schweppe said.
“Voters are smarter than that.”
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