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Noem Signs Executive Orders To ‘Protect Fairness’ in Women’s Sports After Backtracking on Transgender Bill

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) is signing executive orders that she says will “protect fairness” in women’s sports after sending a bill that would have banned transgender women from competing in female sports teams back to the legislature. 

In a tweet on Monday, Noem wrote, “Only girls should play girls’ sports. Given the legislature’s failure to accept my proposed revisions 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 do so in college athletics.”

“Additionally, I will be working with legislative leaders to schedule a special legislative session in late May or early June. The special session will address this important issue,” she added.

She also shared the texts of the executive orders.

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The text of the K-12 order reads, “In South Dakota, only females, based on their biological sex, as reflected by their birth certificate issued at the time of birth, should participate in any girls’ or women’s athletic event sanctioned by a public school, a school district or an association meeting the requirements of SDCL.”

“The South Dakota Department of Education shall establish a policy consistent with this Executive Order and distribute the policy to all public school districts in this State,” it adds.

Earlier this month, Noem said she was “excited” to sign a bill that would limit female sports teams to biologically female students in public schools. 

But weeks later, Noem announced that she was sending the bill back to the legislature for style and form changes as she cited its “vague and overly broad language” that could have “significant unintended consequences.”

“South Dakota has shown that our student athletes can compete with anyone in the country, but competing on the national stage means compliance with the national governing bodies that oversee collegiate athletics,” Noem said, adding, “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.”

During an appearance on Fox News on March 22, Noem defended her decision as she said the bill “wouldn’t solve the problem” and would instead “only allow the NCAA to bully South Dakota.”

“It would put a law on the books that would allow the NCAA to take punitive action against our state, and we’re a small state, Tucker. We have had to fight hard to get any tournaments to come to South Dakota,” she explained.

Noem denied that she was “caving” to the NCAA and said she is “sick and tired of the NCAA threatening states, challenging us and bullying us.”

“So we are going to build a coalition of leaders, athletes and people who want to protect women’s sport,” she added.

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Finally, Noem said, “I’m not going to let anybody from the NCAA, from any big business, I’m not even going to let conservatives on the right bully me. I’m going to solve the problem.”

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