South Dakota’s GOP governor faced heavy backlash from conservatives after she announced Friday she wouldn’t sign a bill from legislators in her own party that would have banned transgender girls from participating in women’s high school sports, The Hill reported.
In a statement released on Twitter, Kristi Noem said that she was sending the bill back to lawmakers for changes and indicated she doesn’t want the ban extended to college athletes.
“Unfortunately, as I have studied this legislation and conferred with legal experts over the past several days, I have become concerned that this bill’s vague and overly broad language could have significant unintended consequences,” Noem wrote.
“I am also concerned that the approach House Bill 1217 takes is unrealistic in the context of collegiate athletics,” she added, writing that banning transgender athletes from collegiate sports would cause conflict with national college athletic associations.
Since announcing she wouldn’t sign the bill, Republican supporters of House Bill 1217, called Noem’s action “inappropriate.”
“Legislators are the ones who makes the laws and the governor signs them,” state Rep. Rhonda Milstead (R), who sponsored the bill, told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. “She’s gutting the bill and writing a new law and that’s not her job.”
As currently written, the bill would have required students participating in sanctioned sports in South Dakota to compete in events that align with their sex determined at birth. Students would need to submit a form verifying their age, biological sex and a lack of steroid usage in order to be eligible for high school athletic programs.