Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson Signs Bill Protecting Women’s Sports

Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson Signs Bill Protecting Women’s Sports

Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a new law Thursday that prohibits biological males from competing in female sports less than a week after South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem rejected similar legislation in her home state.

The “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” requires students to compete in leagues consistent with their gender identity documented on their birth certificate.

“I have studied the law and heard from hundreds of constituents on this issue,” Hutchinson said in a statement after Noem claimed the bill in her state would have provoked an avalanche of unwinnable litigation. “This law simply says that female athletes should not have to compete in a sport against a student of the male sex when the sport is designed for women’s competition.”

Instead of simply signing the bill like Hutchinson and several other governors have, Noem sent the legislation in South Dakota back to state lawmakers using a “style and form” veto, a process where the governor makes revisions to passed bills and sends it back to the legislature for final approval. Noem’s revisions, however, gutted the law by axing its application to institutions of higher education and eliminating avenues of remedy for K-12 girls harmed by transgender males in their leagues.

On Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Monday, Noem defended her decision, which appears to have come at the behest of woke corporatists who warned of retaliation, claiming the legislation was a lost cause in the courts.

“As I looked at the bill and examined it, and have been discussing with legal scholars for many months on how to protect women’s sports, this bill would only allow the NCAA to bully South Dakota,” Noem said, warning the NCAA would launch a cascade of legal challenges.

Kristen Waggoner, the general counsel for the First Amendment legal non-profit Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) said Noem was “intentionally misleading or she is uninformed,” and charged the governor with engaging in “political theater.”

“There is no NCAA policy that requires any state school to allow men to compete against women,” Waggoner told The Federalist. “The Fairness in Women’s Sports bill does not violate any law or any NCAA policy. Schools have the freedom to make this decision and other states have passed similar bills.”

Arkansas joins Idaho and Mississippi in passing legislation to protect women’s sports from transgender insanity this spring, making Noem an outcast on the issue after she launched an online petition drive Monday to support women’s sports despite her veto of a proposal to do just that. A coalition led by ADF, has already been in operation for years to defend girls from being forced to compete with men.

The South Dakota governor who became a rapidly rising star in the Republican Party for her refusal to implement state lockdowns amid the coronavirus panic now appears to have jeopardized her popularity among grassroots conservatives over the veto of a widely supported bill. According to a poll out this month from Politico with the Morning Consult, only a third of U.S. registered voters surveyed opposed legislation banning biological men who identify as women from participation in women’s sports.

Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]
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