South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, a
Republican, on Friday returned to lawmakers a controversial bill that
bars transgender girls and women from participating in female sports.
After lawmakers approved House Bill
1217 earlier this month, Noem tweeted that she was “excited to sign
this bill very soon.”
But on Friday, Noem announced a
so-called “Form and Style” veto of the bill, sending the
legislation back to lawmakers.
“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 said in a statement.
Noem's proposed changes include
removing college athletes from the ban, deleting the requirement that
every school submit waivers documenting a student's “reproductive
biology,” and adding the use of an affidavit to define “biological
The bill's backers balked at the
request, saying that the changes substantially alter the legislation.
“Legislators are the ones who make
the laws and the governor signs them,” Representative Rhonda
Milstead, a Republican from Hartford and the bill's prime sponsor in
the House, told the Argus Leader. “She's gutting the bill
and writing a new law and that's not her job.”
Earlier this month, Tate
Reeves, the Republican governor of Mississippi, signed a similar
measure into law.
The legislation – with Noem's
amendments – needs only a simple majority in both houses to become