South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem Signs Bill ‘to Protect Women’s Sports’

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem Signs Bill 'to Protect Women's Sports' South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem Signs Bill 'to Protect Women's Sports'

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

By Luca Cacciatore | Thursday, 03 February 2022 06:40 PM

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, signed state Senate Bill 46, ''an act to protect fairness in women's sports,'' on Thursday, according to a statement shared with Newsmax.

The law, which requires school sports to organize according to the biological sex of athletes, passed the state Senate on Tuesday and House on Jan. 19.

''Any interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic team, sport, or athletic event that is sponsored or sanctioned by an accredited school, school district, an activities association or organization, or an institution of higher education under the control of either the Board of Regents or the Board of Technical Education must be designated as one of the following, based on the biological sex at birth of the participating athletes,'' the legislation reads.

The only designations permitted for sports are females, women or girls; males, men or boys; or coeducational or mixed.

''This is about fairness. Every young woman deserves an equal playing field where she can achieve success, but common sense tells us that males have an unfair physical advantage over females in athletic competition. It is for those reasons that only girls should be competing in girls' sports,'' Noem said.

''Women have fought long and hard for equal athletic opportunities, and South Dakota will defend them, but we have to do it in a smart way.''

Noem was criticized last year by some conservatives when she vetoed a similar piece of legislation, with some speculating that a conflict of interest with close adviser and NCAA lobbyist Matt McCaulley, who previously employed her daughter, as her reason for doing so, the National Review reported at the time.

The governor denied the allegation, citing what she called ''flawed provisions'' in the original bill. Noem asserted that those issues are not present in the legislation she signed on Thursday.

''This legislation does not have the problematic provisions that were included in last year's House Bill 1217,'' Noem said. ''Those flawed provisions would have led to litigation for our state, as well as for the families of young South Dakota athletes — male and female alike.''

Original Article