The South Dakota state senate is passing a bill along to Governor Kristi Noem that proponents say protects fairness in women’s sports.
South Dakota will join Mississippi in passing a nearly identical bill.
The bill died in a Senate committee, was revived and passed 20-15 in favor. It mandates that high school and college women’s sports are reserved for “biological women.”
Each school will collect written waivers that state every high school and collegiate athletes’ age, reproductive biology, and whether they’ve taken performance enhancing drugs.
Republican State Senator Maggie Sutton is one of the prime sponsors of the bill. She says male athletes are 10 to 20 percent better than similarly trained female athletes.
“The strength of this bill is it’s inclusiveness for all who have a desire for competitive fairness,” Sutton says.
Democratic state senator Reynold Nesiba disagrees the bill is about fairness.
“To me it looks an awful lot like bullying,” Nesiba says. “Because the people who are put down, the stranger that we’re supposed to welcome, according to Matthew 25, are trans people.”
Opponents say the bill excludes one specific group, transgender girl athletes. A similar bill has been enjoined in Idaho.
Janna Farley is the spokesperson for the ACLU of South Dakota. She says it’s disheartening legislators are spending their time on bills like this.
“We don’t need to have discrimination like this codified into law,” Farley says.
The ACLU says the bill creates broad and ill-defined legal grounds. The group says they’re exploring all options.
Governor Kristi Noem says she’s excited to sign the bill into law.