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Tag: anti trans bills

Far Right Turns On Gov. Kristi Noem, GOP’s Rising Star

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem appeared to be a rising Republican star. She'd gained national notoriety among the Republican Party and her relationship with former President Donald Trump only made her more popular among conservative voters in and around her state. But, now it appears that is changing because she is drawing ire not only from her party but also individuals on the other side of the political aisle.

According to The Daily Beast, Noem initially seemed to anticipate signing the state's controversial new piece of legislation targeting transgender athletes' rights. In fact, on March 8, the Republican governor tweeted her anticipation. "I'm excited to sign this bill very soon," Noem tweeted at the time.

However, it's been weeks since her tweet, and the bill has still gone unsigned as she continues to slowly back away from it. Days after the tweet, Noem's office noted that the bill was being evaluated as the governor sought subsequent changes to the bill's verbiage.

"I've heard from individuals, not businesses, and not particularly from the NCAA," Noem said during a press conference.

When top business and sports officials, including the Greater Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux Falls Sports Authority, began to express their disdain about the piece of legislation and its possible financial impact, Noem did as well.

The publication reports that while the bill was being evaluated, "instead of targeting drafting errors, she wanted two sections of the bill tossed out and two other parts revised. In this new version, transgender athletes could play college sports."

So why the changes?

In states where similar laws have been passed, there has been some blowback. For example, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) withdrew from a number of events scheduled in North Carolina when the state passed a similar piece of legislation back in 2017.

While sweeping anti-transgender legislation has become has passed in multiple states, it does not look like Noem is sure about South Dakota being added to the list. Over the weekend, she unveiled the "Defend Title IX Now" an initiative to reform the 1972 gender equality sports law to approach the situation differently.

While she has expressed concern about girls and women being able to compete fairly in sporting events, the potential business impacts appear to have her rethinking the legislative effort. She released a statement explaining the rights of the NCAA as a "private association."

"The NCAA is a private association—that means they can do what they want to do," Noem said. "If South Dakota passes a law that's against their policy, they will likely take punitive action against us. That means they can pull their tournaments from the state of South Dakota, they could pull their home games, they could even prevent our athletes from playing in their league."

On Monday, Noem also said, "I'm still excited to sign the bill," she said on Monday. "We saw some things that needed to be corrected that can be done with a style and form revision. The part we needed to fix were a trial lawyer's dream."

However, lawmakers have criticized her remarks. According to State Rep. Fred Deutsch, a conservative Republican, Noem did not "have her eyes on the ball," the publication reported.

"My take only: She got into this situation because it was a historic year with COVID, marijuana, money, and more," Deutsch told the Daily Beast. He also noted that her team should have been involved from the preliminary stages of the proposed bill. "That led to her tweet that she looked forward to signing the bill even though she apparently hadn't yet read it," he said.

Mississippi Governor Signs First Anti-Trans​ Bill Of 2021

Mississippi 's Republican Gov. Tate Reeves officially signed the first anti-transgender bill of 2021 into law Thursday, "proudly" barring young trans student-athletes from playing sports in groups that match their gender identity, while thousands in the state are still without running water.

When he announced his signing of S.B. 2536 -- a transphobic bill that forces schools to designate their sports teams "according to biological sex" -- Reeves claimed that "one of [President Biden's] first acts was to sign an [executive order] encouraging transgenderism in children," while using the deeply offensive term "biological males" to refer to transgender women and girls.

He also attempted to falsely blame President Joe Biden for the bigotry of state lawmakers, saying, "POTUS left us no choice."

His signing of the bill, which denies basic human rights to transgender youth, was met with outrage from LGBTQ+ advocates around the country.

Alphonso David, the Human Rights Campaign President, said Reeves "chooses fear and division over facts and science," and added: "Bullying transgender kids is no way to govern the state out of the crises they face."

David is referring to "a deadly polar vortex" that hit Jackson, Mississippi particularly hard last month, leaving "40,000 people in the state's largest city" without water, according to LGBTQ+ news site them.

"Like previous iterations of the same anti-equality fight, this law is bound to face scrutiny, legal challenges, and ultimately hurt the state's reputation," said David. "Transgender kids deserve better and so does Mississippi."

The news comes as South Dakota passed a "religious refusal" bill, which would allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ people on the basis of religion, last Thursday. The state is also very close to enacting an anti-transgender law, that Gov. Kristi Noem (R) committed to signing on International Women's Day, ironically celebrating the day with a bill is designed to attack women in the state.

"In an attempt to 'level the playing field,' House Bill 1217 excludes an entire group of women and girls from meaningful participation in sports," said Jett Jonelis, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. "(The bill) isn't about protecting fairness in women's sports. It's about erasing and excluding trans people from participation in all aspects of public life. It's about creating solutions to problems that don't exist and, in the process, harming some of the most vulnerable people in our state."

H.B. 1217 passed through the state legislature and was delivered to the governor's desk on Wednesday.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, these two bills represent just a fraction of the 128 anti-LGBTQ+ bills around the country, 65 of which attack transgender rights specifically.