South Dakota governor proposes ban on transgender women from female sports

National News

FILE – In this Jan. 2019 file photo, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks in Pierre, S.D. Noem said in a statement Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, that as part of the state’s settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union, the state will not enforce parts of the laws that made it a crime to direct or encourage others to “riot.” The ACLU sued over the laws, saying they infringed on free speech rights. (AP Photo/James Nord, File)

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is proposing a bill to ban transgender women and girls from participation in female school sports leagues.

The proposal will be considered during the legislative session in January. It revives a debate in the Capitol that split Republicans last year.

A similar bill ultimately died in March after Noem issued a “style and form veto” against it.

Noem described her new proposal as an effort to ensure “an equal playing field” for women. But advocates for transgender people said it was an attack on transgender women and girls.

In April, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum vetoed similar legislation, House Bill 1298, which would have required transgender athletes to play on sports teams aligned with their biological sex.

In vetoing HB 1298, Burgum cited Article V, Section 9 of the state Constitution, and said the state has a “level playing field and fairness” in girls’ sports — mostly due to the North Dakota High School Activities Association and its members.

He said that, to date, there has not been “a single recorded instance” of a transgender girl attempting to play on a North Dakota girls’ team.

Burgum also said the bill would cause a “myriad of unforeseen consequences.”

The North Dakota Senate failed to override his veto.

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