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There will be a lot of conservatives with sore scalps today after yesterday’s head-scratching news that South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem was going to “veto” the bill requiring students participate in athletics based on their biological sex.

Noem has earned enormous credibility among conservatives. She has stood strong through the COVID pandemic and is a potential frontrunner for the GOP nomination in 2024 if President Donald J. Trump doesn’t seek the office.

On March 9, the message was much simpler to understand.

“I’m excited to sign this bill very soon,” Noem tweeted minutes after it passed the South Dakota Senate.

The bill was introduced on Feb. 3, more than a month before its passage and before Noem said she was “excited” to sign the bill very soon.

Concerns in the senate previously were that the NCAA would potentially not host tournaments in South Dakota, potential legal challenges and the administrative burden of collecting proof of every high school athlete’s biological sex.

On March 11, the headline changed a little bit. It went from Noem being excited to sign the bill to Noem “weighing” the bill amid protests.

“We are still examining the bill, getting ready to make decisions on it,” she said.

Immediately after her quote, the story talks about 500 college athletes who are asking the NCAA to refuse to schedule championships in state that have banned transgender participation in sports.

Dave Zimbeck is a lawyer for the organization that hosts NCAA tournaments in Sioux Falls. He warned lawmakers the ban would jeopardize the chances of Sioux Falls hosting future competitions.

As of March 18, Noem said she wasn’t sure if she’d sign the legislation. Opposition came from members of the LGBTQ community as well as the business community.

Noem signaled the problems with the legislation.

“We’re still looking at it, and I probably, in the next two to three days, will come to a decision,” she told the Argus Leader. “It’s a complicated bill, even in that there are parts of it that aren’t written so well.”

The Argus leader noted that criticism of the bill had grown since it passed from officials with the Greater Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux Falls Sports Authority.

The fear? Economic backlash.

The news broke on Friday that Noem would not sign the bill and is instead sending it back to the legislature.

Again, the Argus Leader noted economic backlash concerns and the potential of Sioux Falls losing sporting events.

Noem said in a letter to the media and legislators that she became concerned about the bill’s “vague and overly broad language.”

She is sending it back with “style-and-form” recommendations.

Republican State Rep. Rhonda Milstead expressed disappointment. Milstead said the use of the “style-and-form” veto is inappropriate as it is typically used for fixing typos and clerical errors.

“Legislators are the ones who makes the laws and the governor signs them,” Milstead told the Argus Leader. “She’s gutting the bill and writing a new law and that’s not her job.”

Author: Jacob Hall