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Gov. Noem – Sign the Bill!

By March 22, 2021South Dakota
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By now, you have probably learned that Gov. Kristi Noem (Republican) put forth an “errors in style and form” veto of HB1217, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. A “style and form veto” is reserved to correct minor errors, like typos. It does not mean the governor can make major changes to bill language or omit vital sections of a bill that has been passed by the legislature. This is an overreach of executive power.

The governor is sending the bill with her “style and form” veto back to the legislature, which meets on Veto Day, Monday, March 29. On that day, the legislature can vote to accept the new language requiring a majority vote, or they can reject the changes and vote to override the veto of the original HB1217, requiring a two-thirds majority vote.

HB1217 passed in the House 50-17. Forty-six votes are necessary to override the veto in the House. The Senate passed the bill 20-15, and 24 votes will be needed to override a veto there.

Gov. Noem’s changes severely weaken the bill. Here are her changes that she sent back to the legislature for consideration:

  1. Lowers the bar on fairness for female athletes. Only elementary and high school girls are covered in the governor’s version of the bill. Fairness for college and beyond females was struck from the bill.
  2. Allows the birth certificate to prove the sex of the student. However, according to state law, a person can change the sex on their birth certificate.
  3. Removes Section 3 of the bill, which was the enforcement mechanism for the proof of the student’s biological sex and assurance that she or he had not taken performance-enhancing drugs or anabolic steroids.
  4. Removes Section 4, which was a “cause of action” if a woman was “deprived of an athletic opportunity” or “suffers direct or indirect harm.”

In a recent poll of South Dakotans, 64% of South Dakotans said boys and men who say they identify as transgender should not be allowed to compete in girls’ and women’s athletics. In the same survey, 54% said Gov. Noem should stand up against corporate threats and boycotts.

Why the veto then? It appears that economic development takes precedence over fairness for women’s sports and general common sense. The Chamber of Commerce, the NCAA, Amazon, Nike, and others claim they and the state would lose millions of dollars if HB1217 were made law. South Dakota should not be subservient to these entities. They are the ones who should change their policies to reflect science and common sense.


  1. Email Noem and kindly encourage her to do the right thing and sign the original HB1217 as passed by the legislature.
  2. If your senator voted “Yes” to support HB1217, thank him or her with encouragement to continue to support the original language of HB1217. If he or she voted “No,” please urge his or her support of the original language of HB1217.
  3. Forward this information to friends and family.

PRAYER: Pray that Gov. Noem will have a change of heart and support the original language of HB1217 that passed the state legislature.  Pray that the legislature will have enough votes to override her veto.

God bless you for your faithfulness in prayer and action,

Linda Schauer
State Director