SOUTH DAKOTA — Today, the South Dakota legislature voted to kill the changes made by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s style-and-form veto of HB 1217, the anti-transgender sports ban bill that she had previously expressed excitement about signing. While this temporarily ends the threat of this legislation, Governor Noem has threatened a special session to address this made up problem. Noem took objection to the inclusion of collegiate sports in the participation ban, citing fears of economic repercussions due to the NCAA’s previous threats to pull tournaments and events from states that pass anti-LGBTQ and specifically anti-transgender laws. Noem also feared potential litigation — a burden that would fall on taxpayers to fund, calling the bill “a trial-lawyer’s dream.” A similar bill is currently facing litigation in Idaho. Noem’s earlier backtrack, by even an extreme governor with national political aspirations, exposes the economic, legal, and reputational threats these bills pose to other states considering anti-transgender legislation.
The legislative fight to pass discriminatory anti-transgender legislation has been fast and furious, led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states. There are so far 192 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Of those, 93 directly target transgender people and about half of those would, like HB 1217, ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity.
Gov. Noem’s winding path from “excited to sign” to a veto
Noem held a press conference standing alongside known anti-LGBTQ extremists to justify her veto
From praise to condemnation from anti-equality extremist groups
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