Posted by on January 14, 2022 7:09 pm
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Noem-backed bill targeting transgender athletes passes South Dakota Senate committee

a young caucasian person, seen from behind, holding a transgender pride flag over his or her head against the blue sky (iStock photo)

Noem-backed bill targeting transgender athletes passes South Dakota Senate committee

Asher Notheis January 14, 06:08 PMJanuary 14, 06:08 PM

A bill backed by Gov. Kristi Noem banning transgender women from competing in women’s school athletics is making headway in the South Dakota Legislature.

SB 46 passed the Senate State Affairs Committee on Friday with near-unanimous support on an 8-1 vote. Sen. Troy Heinert, the only Democrat on the committee, was the only one to vote against it. The bill will now move to the Senate floor.

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Noem released an ad Wednesday saying that “only girls play girls sports” in South Dakota. The ad also claims her proposed bill will give the state “the strongest law in the nation protecting female sports.” The committee introduced the bill at the governor’s request.

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Noem, seen by many as a potential 2024 presidential candidate, proposed SB 46 on Dec. 14, 2021, saying in a press release that it was about “fairness.” She previously issued a “style and form veto” last year to a similar bill that would have barred biological males from competing in women’s athletics, citing the potential for opposition and litigation by the NCAA. That decision earned criticism from her fellow Republicans, who control both chambers of the state Legislature.

Critics of such legislation targeting transgender athletes claim it is harmful to transgender people. “Passage of this bill would directly hurt children,” Jennifer Phalen, a mother of a transgender daughter who wants to participate in school gymnastics, told the committee, according to the Associated Press. “It would directly hurt my daughter and take away her freedom to participate in activities with her peers.”

Transgender athletes competing in women’s sports have made headlines in recent weeks, after transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, a member of the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s team, broke numerous women’s distance freestyle records. An anonymous female swimmer on Thomas’s team said it is hard for her to respect Thomas “because of what she’s doing to my team and what she’s doing to women in general and not caring.”

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Some Republican-led states have banned transgender female athletes from competing in women’s sports. Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill in June 2021 that he said shows his state was focused on “fairness and integrity” in athletic programs.

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Originally appeared at Washington Examiner

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