South Dakota’s House of Representatives successfully passed Senate Bill 46, banning males from competing in women’s sports in South Dakota schools. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., for signature.
Senate Bill 46, which passed in a 50-17 vote on Tuesday, affirms sports teams in public schools and colleges in the state must be based on the biological sex assigned at birth. This effectively bars biological males from participating in “any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for females, women, or girls.”
Gov. Noem, who requested the legislation, called the measure the “strongest bill in the nation” as it made its way through South Dakota’s legislature.
“This is about fairness,” Noem affirmed. “This is about making sure that our girls have a chance to be successful and to compete, to win scholarships, potentially go on to play professional sports beyond that. We want them to have the opportunity to do that.”
A spokesman for the governor confirmed to The Epoch Times that Noem would be signing the bill after rejecting a similar one last year.
After facing significant backlash from conservatives after vetoing House Bill 1217, Noem defended her decision claiming the bill’s “style and form” was initially impractical and was concerned about handing an excessive amount of power to the government.
“I take my guidance from the Constitution,” she said. “I swore an oath to that. It’s very important to me that I adhere to that oath. The government that you make too big and too powerful and give leaders that kind of authority that the Constitution doesn’t give them will be powerful enough to take away your freedom too.”
However, Noem released an ad in January highlighting SB 46 and her commitment to protecting women’s sports.
“In South Dakota, only girls play girls’ sports,” Noem wrote on Twitter, debuting her ad.
Noem, who is the first woman to become governor in South Dakota, is currently running for reelection.