Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced on Monday that she was signing a bill that may save the future of female sports in her state.
Gov. Noem said she would sign a bill limiting female teams and sports at public schools to students who are biologically female after the bill passed the South Dakota Senate 20-15 on Monday.
“In South Dakota, we’re celebrating #InternationalWomensDay by defending women’s sports! I’m excited to sign this bill very soon,” Noem wrote on Twitter on Monday.
State Rep. Rhonda Milstead introduced the bill, which passed the South Dakota House 50-17 in February, according to KOTA TV.
“We anticipate that when Governor Noem signs the bill, South Dakota will be the first state this year to pass legislation of this sort,” a spokesman for Noem stated.
The ACLU of South Dakota opposes the bill and sent advocacy manager Jett Jonelis to testify against it.
“In an attempt to ‘level the playing field,’ House Bill 1217 excludes an entire group of women and girls from meaningful participation in sports,” Jonelis said according to KOTA TV. “House Bill 1217 isn’t about protecting fairness in women’s sports. It’s about erasing and excluding trans people from participation in all aspects of public life.”
In Mississippi a similar bill was passed by the House earlier in March to ban transgender athletes from competing on girls’ and women’s sports teams.
Meanwhile, in February, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended President Biden’s executive order that called on schools across the country to permit students to participate in sports under their chosen gender identity.
When asked by a reporter what Biden’s message was to school officials tackling the disputes regarding transgender and cisgender girls competing together, particularly for college scholarships, Psaki said that “the president’s belief is that trans rights are human rights.”
“And that’s why he signed that executive order,” she said. “And in terms of the determinations by universities and colleges, I would certainly defer to them.”
Former President Donald Trump went after President Joe Biden’s administration’s policy on transgender athletes during his CPAC speech on February 28.
Trump blasted the Biden policy – warning that allowing “biological males” to compete against women would effectively “end” women’s sports.
“Joe Biden and the Democrats are even pushing policies that would destroy women’s sports. A lot of new records are being broken in women’s sports. Hate to say that, ladies, but got a lot of new records. They’re being shattered,” Trump began. “You know, for years, the weight lifting, every ounce is like a big deal for many years. All of a sudden somebody comes along and beats it by 100 pounds.”
He explained that women worked hard to get to where they are in athletics and that it’s “not good for women” to now have to compete against “biological males.” He then described that some records in women’s sports “have stood for years, even decades” and are now easily being “smashed.”
“If this does not change, women’s sports, as we know it, will die, they’ll end … if I’m a coach, you know, I want to be a great coach. What coach, as an example, wants to recruit a young woman to compete if her record can easily be broken by somebody who was born a man? Not too many of those coaches around, right? … We must protect the integrity of women’s sports. So important. Have to,” Trump concluded.