South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, after expressing her excitement less than two weeks to sign a bill banning biological males from competing against women in women’s sports, is reportedly wavering in her support for the legislation due to pressure from groups in South Dakota, as reported by the Argus Leader.
Kristi Noem Wavers On Bill Banning Biological Males From Women’s Sports https://t.co/UqBDAGqzho
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 19, 2021
In a Friday interview with the Argus Leader, the popular governor now says she views the bill as “complicated” and “not written so well.”
“We’re still looking at it, and I probably, in the next two to three days, will come to a decision. It’s a complicated bill, even in that there are parts of it that aren’t written so well.”
While not a 180-degree turn, Noem’s Friday comments were a far cry from comments she made less than two weeks ago — on International Women’s Day.
“In South Dakota, we’re celebrating International Women’s Day by defending women’s sports! I’m excited to sign this bill very soon.”
Well, “very soon” is here, and now Kristi Noem is wavering.
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 8, 2021
Serious stuff for a popular governor, considered by some as a potential front-running 2024 Republican presidential candidate; although Noem said several times in mid-2020, “I don’t want to be president in 2024,” and she’s “not interested in a 2024 presidential run.” 2024, But by October, she had moved from “not interested” to “not ruling it out.”
That’s not earth-shattering; it’s the reality of how the political game is played.
As reported by the Daily Caller on Friday, the American Principles Project, which bills itself as “America’s Top Defender of the Family,” has both publicly and privately encouraged Noem to sign the bill and engaged in dialogue with legislators across South Dakota regarding H.B. 1217.
Jon Schweppe, APP’s Director of Policy and Government Affairs, told the DCNF that he began hearing from legislators and policy organizations that Noem was facing pressure not to sign the bill from South Dakota groups after she tweeted her support on March 8.
Schweppe also told the DNCF that Noem would damage her career if she, in effect, backpedals and refuses to sign the legislation.
“I’m hoping she doesn’t do that because she will destroy her political career. She’s trying to become president or have a national profile.”
Republican SD state Rep. Rhonda Milstead, one of H.B. 1217’s sponsors, told the DCNF Friday morning that, while opposition and pressure against the bill were inevitable,” she believes Noem could have avoided the pressure if she had signed the bill as soon as it hit her desk.
“I think the reality of it is that if you stand up for the right thing, and this is the right thing, that good will come of it. That bully tactics aren’t gonna work if you hold your ground. And that’s what those are, bully tactics.”
Milstead speculated that Noem is working on language changes that she will require before she will sign the bill —which Milstead told the DCNF is “not Noem’s purview.”
And as reported by Twitchy on Friday, Noem posted a 22-tweet thread in which she said she was “returning House Bill 1217” with recommendations as to “style and form” in its “vague and overly broad language” that “could have significant unintended consequences.”
I believe that boys should play boys’ sports, and girls should play girls’ sports. I’m returning House Bill 1217 with the following recommendations as to STYLE and FORM. (1/)
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 19, 2021
Unfortunately, as I have studied this legislation and conferred with legal experts over the past several days, I have become concerned that this bill’s vague and overly broad language could have significant unintended consequences. (5/)
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 19, 2021
However, Milstead’s not interested.
“She’s the executive branch, the legislature is the one that passes laws. So if she wants to change the language, it has nothing to do with style and form.
“It has everything to do with content, context. That’s not appropriate. It’s really going outside of the powers of the branch. That’s not what the executive branch is for.”
I didn’t quite get that. Did Milstead say it’s not Kristi Noem’s job to change the bill’s language, approximately 42 times?
Among those apparently putting a full-court press on Noem is the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Dave Zimbeck of the Sioux Falls Sports Authority told the Argus Leader earlier this month that the NCAA could cancel its March Madness tournaments in Sioux Falls because of the bill. The proposed law would likely be viewed as discriminatory by the NCAA, violating its policies concerning diversity, he said.
“Ultimately, that’s deemed under the NCAA policies as discriminatory. And that would put us on the outside looking in, and ultimately we would lose out on a bid we were seeking, and we would also lose out on a tournament that’s already been awarded to us. This bill as it’s written casts a big shadow on our ability to host a tournament.”
Perhaps it’s just me, but an organization like the 115-year-old NCAA, dedicated to serving and protecting both men’s and women’s collegiate sports since 1906, now believing that denying biological males the “right” to compete in women’s sports is “discriminatory,” blows the rational mind. The operative word being “rational.”
But sure enough, in a statement to the Argus Leader, the NCAA reaffirmed its commitment to supporting transgender athletes and said it is closely monitoring policies that could impact their participation in collegiate sports. Spokesperson Gail Dent said in a statement:
“The NCAA believes in fair and respectful student-athlete participation at all levels of sports.
“The Association’s transgender student-athlete participation policy and other diversity policies are designed to facilitate and support inclusion.
“The NCAA believes diversity and inclusion improve the learning environment and it encourages its member colleges and universities to support the well-being of all student-athletes.”
“To support the well-being of all student-athletes.” Uh-huh. What are the chances that Gail Dent and the NCAA give a damn about the “well-being” of female student-athletes deflated or worse by being forced to compete on an unlevel playing field against biological males?
Save it, Ms. Dent, you’re full of crap. Even worse, you know it.
Zimbeck also said schools that follow the law but violate NCAA policy could lose their accreditation with the NCAA, and their ability to compete against other schools outside South Dakota.
“It’s predictable – it’s very alarming, but it’s predictable – that the colleges under the Board of Regents’ control would be put in a position where they have to disconnect or walk away from the NCAA and lose their accreditation and ultimately have no place to compete.”
“Without a conference affiliation, without an NCAA membership, the schools have no place to play,” Zmbecked added. “And now we could see where we essentially have to eliminate athletics completely from state-run colleges or universities, which is extremely alarming.”
How is that not unconstitutional? Never mind.
In a related and equally-disgusting story, as I reported earlier today, a biological male won a female beauty contest in Las Vegas this week. As reported by Fox 5 in Vegas, “Kataluna” Enriquez called “her” win “a celebration of womanhood and diversity and this celebration of being your true self” that “gives you higher purpose.”
Kataluna Enriquez will now compete for Miss Nevada USA, the state pageant leading to Miss USA and Miss Universe. https://t.co/9GrJ9qXrGZ
— FOX5 Las Vegas (@FOX5Vegas) March 17, 2021
I’m all good on “higher purpose” for the day, “Miss” Enriquez, thanks.
As for Kristi Noem, she’s definitely between a rock and a hard place. What’s a budding national political star to do? Sign the damn bill; don’t be bullied. And screw the NCAA — it’s time to call out their strong-arm tactics and other crap, as well.
As if that’s not enough “awesome” sports news for one day, check out my earlier piece: NAACP Demands NFL ‘Rethink Its Relationship’ With Fox, Then the Silly Lying Begins