South Dakota requires student athletes to compete based on their biological sex

Governor Kristi Noem signed Senate Bill 46 into law.

South Dakota joins nine other states in passing similar legislation.

South Dakota is requiring K-12 and collegiate athletes to compete on teams according to their biological sex.  

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed Senate Bill 46 on Thursday. The bill passed the state’s House of Representatives with overwhelming Republican support in a 50-17 vote. 

No Democrat lawmakers supported the bill.

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Noem’s approval marks the bill as the first women’s sports bill enacted in 2022.

The legislation further limits participation to “only female students, based on their biological sex.”

The enrolled bill reads:

Designated divisions separate based on biological gender include:

”(1) Females, women, or girls;

(2) Males, men, or boys;

(3) Coeducational or mixed.”

Athletes or institutions that are affected by any violation of the bill are eligible to pursue legal action. In accordance with the bill, civil suits must be filed within two years of the allegation. 

With Noem’s support, South Dakota joins Florida in issuing state-wide bans on biological men competing in women’s sports. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 1028 in June 2021. 

In addition to Florida and South Dakota, eight other states have enacted similar legislation, including Idaho, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. Twenty-six states have proposed bills to state legislatures. 

In December, Campus Reform compiled a list of anticipated legislation expected in the new year. Women’s sports have been high on lawmakers’ priority list.

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Last year, Noem pre-filed a bill to tackle the transgender issue and implemented two executive orders.

The orders were filed days after Noem came under fire after striking down a bill that would have banned transgender participation in athletics in 2021. While Noem first praised the bill, she later retracted her support and issued a “style and form” veto to send the bill back to the legislature. 

Campus Reform has reached out to Noem’s office for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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