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UPDATE: Noem issues executive orders in place of women's sports bill
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UPDATE: Noem issues executive orders in place of women's sports bill

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After the House officially vetoed House Bill 1217, which would have barred transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports, Gov. Kristi Noem issued two executive orders that essentially implement the bill. The first order concerns K-12 athletics and the second concerns collegiate athletics.

The South Dakota House of Representatives gathered and discussed House Bill 1217, which would have barred transgender girls from participating in girls' sports, on Monday in Pierre. 

Noem also announced Monday afternoon that she intends to schedule a special legislative session for either late May or early June to address fairness in women’s sports as well as medicinal marijuana implementation and the state budget.

Noem’s reversal of the legislature’s decision came soon after the House voted 25-24 to override her style and form veto of HB 1217. Before representatives voted, however, the Senate had already adjourned for the last time, effectively killing the bill.

Executive Order 2021-05 states that only females based on their biological sex as reflected on their birth certificate can participate in girl’s athletic events in a K-12 school, and that the state Department of Education shall establish a policy to enforce the order. Executive Order 2021-06 enforces the same principle, but says the Board of Regents “should” take any and all steps to legally implement policies that align with the order, rather than “shall.”

Earlier Monday, the House rejected Noem’s style and form veto of HB 1217 by a 67-2 vote. Representatives urged their colleagues not to support the style and form edits, citing unconstitutionality.

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HB 1217’s prime sponsor Rep. Rhonda Milstead, R-Hartford, said the style and form veto does not allow for substantive changes to a bill and that the governor needs to either sign the bill as it was delivered to her desk or veto it.

“To take and remove sections is not appropriate for the executive branch,” Milstead said.

Rep. Taffy Howard, R-Rapid City, concurred with Milstead that the style and form veto did not apply in this case because the governor made substantial changes in the way the bill was written.

“What we’re talking about is an unconstitutional use of this veto,” Howard said.

Rep. Jon Hansen, R-Dell Rapids, said the vetoed portions of the bill were not included in error and removing them fundamentally changes the bill.

"The inclusion of protections for female college athletes was not an error. The inclusion of a substantive enforcement mechanism … was not an error. Those are substantive amendments being proposed to the bill. And I’m here to tell you that it’s clearly, 100%, without a doubt, unconstitutional,” Hansen said.

The governor’s style and form changes were shot down by the House, with only Representatives Anderson and Tidemann voting to approve the changes. The bill goes back to Noem next to either sign the bill as it first appeared on her desk or to veto it.

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