Gov. Kristi Noem Signs Bill to Protect Fair Competition in Women’s Sports

After athletic organizations began allowing men and boys pretending to be women and girls to compete against them in physical sports, states began drafting and introducing legislation to protect fair competition for women’s teams.

Legislatures saw the proverbial writing on the wall after a group of high school girls in Connecticut filed a lawsuit against the state’s athletic association, and female athletes in Idaho asked to join the lawsuit. Idaho was the first state to pass a Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. Governor Brad Little signed the bill in 2020, but a Trump-appointed federal judge blocked it.

The NCAA requires men to take testosterone-suppression drugs for a year before being allowed to compete against women, but a British sports journal concluded that men still outperform women even after taking suppression drugs for a year.

The NCAA threatened to boycott states that passed laws to save women’s sports. South Dakota’s Governor Kristi Noem made a controversial decision in 2021 to refuse to sign her legislature’s fairness in sports bill and suggested “style and form” changes. Conservatives accused her of fearing the NCAA. Gov. Noem said the bill contained “vague and overly broad language” and “could have significant unintended consequences.” After the legislature refused to make changes, Gov. Noem signed two executive orders that barred biological males from competing with women and girls in sports.

The governor and the legislature finally saw eye to eye. Gov. Noem last week signed a bill that bars men from competing in girls’ and women’s sports. From the Washington Times:

The legislation replaces similar executive orders issued by the Republican governor in March 2021 after she declined to sign a women’s sports bill over legal concerns.

The South Dakota measure creates a private cause of action for any student who “suffers direct or indirect harm” against “the accredited school, school district, activities association or organization, or institution of higher learning” in the state.

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