Governor Noem’s ‘Fairness in Women’s Sports’ bill passes through committee

Gary Matthews & News StaffJanuary 14, 2022News
XGR-Transgender Bill

PIERRE, S.D. — The debate on the Governor’s “fairness in women’s sports” and banning transgender girls from playing girls sports in South Dakota began in a Senate committee Friday and after heavy debate, will move to the Senate floor.

Senate Bill 46, Republican Governor Kristi Noem’s bill on the topic, was the lone item on the Senate State Affairs Committee’s agenda Friday.

There was heavy opposition testimony to SB 46 with only two people testifying in favor of it.

Among those testifying against was the South Dakota High School Activities Association, who say their policy follows Department of Justice guidance to protect Title IX. Executive Director Dan Swartos says the policy, in place since 2013 has been adjusted but remains supported by all 130+ schools enrolled in the SDHSAA.

“Transgender status is protected under Title IX, so passage of the bill would put us in a position of either violating federal law or violating state law,” Swartos said. “Our policy has been in place since 2013, it has been adjusted, it is wildly supported by our 181 high schools. We’ve had one transgender female athlete participate in the history of our policy. That athlete graduated several years ago so we currently have no athletes participating as a transgender female athlete at this time.”

Susan Williams, a resident of legislative District 6 and a parent of the trans gender child, says sports participation is crucial….

“Our kids don’t play to win trophies, they play because they want community and friendship,” Williams testified. “They play because they know there is nothing like being part of a team that accepts you for who you are.”

SB 46, as amended, passed the committee and moved to the Senate 8-1. Senator Troy Heinert was the lone vote against it.

Cammack, Casey Crabtree, Michael Diedrich, Helene Duhamel, Mary Duvall, Michael Rohl, Lee Schoenbeck and Kyle Schoenfish all voted in favor of the bill.