A law firm is disappointed in the governor of South Dakota, even after issuing executive orders to – in her words – provide protections for female athletes.
"Unfortunately, as we reviewed those [orders], we found that they are not providing the protections that she says they do, particularly with college athletes," says attorney Matt Sharp of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a law firm that's been urging Governor Kristi Noem (R-South Dakota) to sign the sports bill. "Her executive order amounts to little more than a suggestion for colleges to protect women's sports."
To put it another way, Sharp says there's no teeth to it. "That's why the legislation was so important," he continues, "because it would have provided those protections for every girl from kindergarten to college and given them legal recourse if their rights are violated."
Noem's orders, which cover K-12 and college respectively, come after she vetoed legislation to bar biological males from competing in female sports. Governor Noem says boys should compete in boys' sports and girls should compete in girls' sports. Still, Noem recently told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that the NCAA is a bully, and that the bill she was given by her legislature was a trial lawyer's dream. As a result, Noem issued what is called a "style and form veto" for legislators to make changes. They opted not to, and Noem vetoed the bill.
"We were very disappointed that Governor Noem vetoed this very meaningful and important piece of legislation that would have protected every girl from kindergarten to college [giving them] the ability to have a fair and level playing field in sports and making sure that biological males are not allowed to compete and take away spots and opportunities for females," adds Sharp.
"This is legislation that several other states have passed – including Idaho and Mississippi and Arkansas – and we would have loved to have seen South Dakota be the next state to pass these important protections. That's what makes us so disappointed with Governor Noem for vetoing this and not standing firm and showing leadership on this important issue."