South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, who has enjoyed newfound star power within the Republican Party for her refusal to implement pandemic lockdowns, is hesitating on a bill that would bar biological males from participation in women’s sports.
The South Dakota legislature passed House bill 1217, the “Promote Continued Fairness in Women’s Sports” act earlier this month and delivered it to Noem’s desk on March 10.
Noem declared she was “excited” to sign the bill the same day the Senate gave its approval on International Women’s Day.
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 8, 2021
More than a week later and under pressure from South Dakota business groups pushing for a veto, Noem has yet to sign the hot-button legislation on her desk supported by a majority of registered American voters and three-quarters of Republicans, according to a recent joint survey by Politico and the Morning Consult.
Ok so let's dispense with the notion that transgenderism as pushed by corporate media, Big Tech, Hollywood, and corporate America is somehow "mainstream." It's not even close to mainstream. It's a fringe view. https://t.co/MARyRurOXw
— John Daniel Davidson (@johnddavidson) March 10, 2021
Noem’s office did not immediately respond to The Federalist’s inquiries but the governor’s Communications Director Ian Fury confirmed to the Daily Caller Noem is now undecided.
“Governor Noem is still weighing 106 pieces of legislation that have action due next Friday, and that is one of them,” Fury told the paper.
South Dakota Chamber of Commerce President David Owen told The Federalist his coalition of business groups are applying pressure on the governor to veto the bill, warning its passage will jeopardize the state’s corporate interests.
“Employers view the workforce as a place of inclusion,” Owen said. “They’ve made it clear to us they won’t support groups that help pass laws that blindly discriminate in certain areas,” with transgenderism being one of them.
Owen raised concerns South Dakota will face economic consequences suffered by other states such as North Carolina which have passed laws vilified by Democrats and progressives in legacy media as discriminatory.
Conferences, conventions, and tournaments, Owen said, would be canceled, and emphasized the South Dakota High School Athletic Association has already been dealing with the issue without controversy for years on a student case-by-case basis.
President Joe Biden however, re-centered the issue on his first day in office with an executive order that mandates any institution receiving federal dollars to admit transgender athletes who are biologically male into women’s leagues.
Other states, including Kansas and Mississippi, have now moved forward on pursuing their own transgender sports bans in conflict with Biden’s order, which, polling shows remains a fringe left-wing policy proposal outside with the mainstream culture. The only subgroups in Politico/Morning Consult’s survey to oppose a transgender sports ban by a majority are Democrats and Gen Z voters, with margins within the poll’s 2 percent margin of error.
The anti-science issue of government-mandated inclusion of biological males competing in women’s leagues has become an essential front on the culture war motivating grassroots conservatives, the exact type of Republican voter Noem needs if she decides to pursue a presidential run three years from now.
Bending to Biden’s order on the issue in favor of corporate interests is likely to sour Noem’s progress as a rising star in a party increasingly energized by the culture wars.
Noem is expected to make a decision on the bill as soon as Friday or this weekend.