By Duncan Smith
Something went haywire in deep red South Dakota with a piece of legislation that should have been a lay-up.
By a massive super-supermajority, the state legislature passed a bill that would have banned biological males from competing in sporting events intended only for biological females.
But the bill has died because the state’s deeply conservative governor, Kristi Noem, refused to sign it.
What the actual hell?
The Epoch Times reports:
Legislation in South Dakota that would have banned biological males from participating in female sports was rejected by state lawmakers on March 29 after Gov. Kristi Noem had sent the measure back to the legislature with recommended modifications.
Noem, a Republican, insisted she didn't veto the legislation, but the end result was the same in the standoff with state legislative leaders. The legislative session then ended without an override of the veto.
The bill was intended to prevent transgender persons from participating on single-sex sports teams, primarily to block males from taking part in women's sports.
Both South Dakota chambers passed House Bill 1217 in recent weeks. Noem on March 19 sent the bill back to the state House, asking for style and form changes before she'd sign it. Among the proposed changes was removing college athletics from the sports teams that would be affected, under pressure from the NCAA.
The House on March 29 overwhelmingly rejected all the proposed changes, in a 67–2 vote after House Speaker Spencer Gosch, a Republican, pushed colleagues to do so.
Noem then sent a letter to the House asserting that the state Constitution prevented her from signing the bill because the final version didn't conform with her recommendations.
'Therefore, my only option consistent with the constitution is [to] fail to certify the bill and to return it to you,' she wrote. The bill should be treated as if it was vetoed, she said.
Terry Schilling, president of the American Principles nonprofit, said in a statement that the proposed alterations would have 'fundamentally subverted the entire bill,' adding that Noem was 'the only Republican governor to date to refuse to sign legislation protecting girls' sport when given the opportunity.'
Other red states whose governors are not quite as conservative as Noem — in Arkansas and Tennessee — have signed nearly the same legislation.
So what’s the problem?
Noem says that she didn’t want to sign the bill as-is because her legal team said it is a lawyer’s dream; namely, that the the NCAA would either sue or prohibit South Dakota collegiate athletes from competing in events.
That is patently ridiculous. So it’s really not clear what’s up Noem’s rear about this bill other than to believe critics who say she is being deferential to the NCAA, not her state’s voters.
But is she?
Noem claims that she is working on forming a coalition to fight the NCAA. Okay. Fine. But what good is that going to do?
Isn’t the better option to do what your voters, via their representatives, want, which is for her to sign the bill?
We think so. Then let the chips fall where they may.
Because here’s the deal: Noem is a genuine, true-red conservative; if we can’t depend on her to push back against this ridiculous left-wing attack on our traditional standards and culture, then the country is lost.
The state legislature needs to reintroduce and pass this bill again and Noem needs to sign it. Period.
That’s how to fix this.
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