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Senate Leader Slams Noems' Special Session Plan

Senator Lee Shoenbeck on SDPB's South Dakota Focus


Governor Kristi Noem wants lawmakers back for a special session in  late May or early June.

She wants legislators to address several  issues -- changes to a  medical marijuana program and what to do with new coronavirus relief money.

Noem also wants action that could face an uphill challenge in the state Senate.

Governor Noem issued two executive orders moments after state lawmakers failed to approve  changes to a partial veto on a bill. Noem says her orders are meant to protect women’s high school and collegiate sports.

Critics say the move targets the transgender community.

Noem says her orders are temporary until legislators convene.

“it’s all about fair play and fair competition. That’s what title IX was when it was established decades ago and that’s what we’re interested in protecting,” Noem says. “I think that these two executive orders are a temporary fix, but it also sends a pretty clear message to the legislature that I want them to address this in the coming month.”

Some in the Senate say  the South Dakota High School Athletics Association already has a policy to address the issue.

It requires prospective transgender girl athletes get a waiver—and  submit doctor’s and psychiatrists’ notes proving they’re transgender.  An independent hearing officer determines whether they could  have a competitive advantage.

Lee Schoenbeck is the leader of the senate. He says a special session is  not needed.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.