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Noem Cloaks Triangulating Rewrite of Transgender-Female-Athlete Ban as “Style and Form Veto”

Governor Kristi Noem really has difficulty understanding the difference between style and substance. When she should be offering substantive and comprehensive policy action to deal with real crises, she coasts on slogans and rhinestone cowgirlery. Yet when she wants to abuse her veto power to make substantive changes in a controversial law passed by the Legislature, she pretends her illegal amendments are just “style and form.”

Yesterday Governor Kristi Noem asked the Legislature to rewrite House Bill 1217, the ban on transgender female athletes. The Governor is trying to have it both ways: she wants to sustain the scapegoating and bullying of transgender Americans that her party suddenly finds so popular, but she also wants to dodge the boycotts and lawsuits that will inevitably follow.

The Governor claims she is issuing a “style and form” veto, but her rewrite is no simple correction of verbs and conjunctions or other technical changes authorized by South Dakota Constitution Article 4 Section 4. No, the Governor’s rewrite leaps beyond the Constitutional limits of her veto authority and presents a bill substantively different in scope:

  1. The Governor removes requirements that athletes submit written statements verifying their age and stating that they are not taking and have not taken any performance-enhancing drugs, including anabolic steroids. (The Governor’s text in her news release is unclear, but she appears to redirect the requirements for participation to the birth certificate or affidavit parents must submit under SDCL 13-27-3.1 to send their kids to school.)
  2. The Governor says her revision limits the scope of the transgender-female sports ban to elementary and secondary schools (however, the language she pasted on her new release does not show the strikethrough of “or an institution of higher education under the control of the Board of Regents or the South Dakota Board of Technical Education”—I suppose that omission is a real style-and-form error).
  3. Her rewrite removes language authorizing entities sponsoring or sanctioning school sports to remove students submitting false information in those written statements from school activities for the entire school year.
  4. The Governor strikes all of the HB 1217 language that would allow students and schools to sue schools and activities associations for allowing transgender females to compete against them and their “real girls.”

South Dakota’s style and form veto is a form of the rare amendatory veto. We wrote it into our Constitution in 1972. But style and form does not include limiting the scope, reducing enforcement, and erasing causes for court action.

Noem uses other words without meaning in her style and form announcement. She claims her recommended revision will “protect women sports while also showing empathy for youths struggling with what they understand to be their gender identity.” But she keeps HB 1217’s core action of banning transgender females from female sports teams; where is the empathy in that action? Noem reaffirms her position that transgender females are liars out to do unjustice to real women—”But showing empathy does not mean a biologically-female-at birth woman should face an unbalanced playing field that effectively undermines the advances made by women and for women since the implementation of Title IX in 1972.” None of the changes the Governor proposes would make HB 1217 any kinder or more open to young transgender females playing sports; the changes only protect schools and organizations from bookkeeping and lawsuits and protect the state from losing money from the loss of big college sports events.

We probably can’t take Noem to court for abusing her style-and-form authority. When the Legislature convenes on Veto Day Monday, March 29, it is free to suspend its own rules and amend any vetoed bills or propose any new bills with any language it wants, the Governor’s or anyone else’s. But it is quizzical that a Governor who would dispatch lawyers to make strained arguments about the meaning of terms like “single-subject” and “revision” to defend the Constitution against the scourge of a voter-approved amendment would so wantonly disregard the language limiting her own Executive authority when she wants to rewrite a Legislatively approved bill to minimize her fat’s exposure to political fire.

But maybe she’s just carrying out another Lewandoski-smart-aleck critique of her opponents. She thinks transgender athletes are just “style and form” females, so why not tease them with a “style and form” veto that we all can see is something else?


  1. DaveFN 2021-03-20 10:01

    She’s trying her best to understand and implement Genesis 5:2.

  2. Donald Pay 2021-03-20 10:23

    Bill Janklow always used the full extent of his power under the constitution, but even he stopped short of this abuse of the “style and form” veto to propose a completely different bill. It’s sort of a tip off that Noem just makes it up as she goes, rather than study an issue and the bills before she shoots from the hip. Annie Oakley she ain’t. She’s always having to re-explain things, and re-re-explain things when what she explained before was found to be a lie or simply wrong. And then she has to say she never changed her mind. Gaslighting, apparently, is the Noem style. And she knows it, which is why she tries as hard as any governor in history to NOT get too deep in the weeds, but just mouth the standard focus-group tested bromides of the right. Well, she got her titties caught in the transgender grinder this time.

  3. Nix 2021-03-20 10:28

    Well, it sure seems like the Dope Queen of Delusion had an epiphany.
    You know that the lawsuits, possibly loss of NCAA tournament’s, maybe even Amazon pulling the plug must have made the , dim as it may be , lightbulb go on.
    I find it amusing that even though she thinks she’s a big dog, little puppies can be potty trained.
    Now Kristi, go lay by your dish.

  4. grudznick 2021-03-20 11:21

    Having been outmaneuvered, those insaner than most going after the poor transgender athletes now have the libbies come rushing to their aid. It is indeed an entertaining time in which we live.

  5. bearcreekbat 2021-03-20 11:24

    Interesting how this facade narrows the targeted victims of State hate and discrimination to a couple groups even weaker than college students. After all, if our Trumpist queen fears pushback from 18 year olds, at least she can show her SD muscle by attacking elementary kids, ages 6-12 and and young teens ages 13-17. Bullies have to be careful of who they pick on, and Noem appears to have just realized kids over 18 might be able to actually fight back. But the even younger among us, hopefully not so much. Maybe the next group our brilliant Trumpist bullies will go after will be pre-schoolers ages 5 and under.

    Trumpism has taught our wanna be bullies a real life lesson by national Trumpists focusing their attacks on adults and children who have been so-traumatized, harmed and threatened in the homes where they have spent their entire lives, that they feel forced to run away and ask strangers in the USA for help and safety. A great example of another incredibily weak group of individuals that bullies can target to harm in order to build their self-esteem. A lesson well learned Noem!

  6. mike from iowa 2021-03-20 11:25

    Transgendered people are just as much human beings, or more so, than the over godder magats trying to legislate special rights for wasicu phoney kristians who look like themselves.

  7. mike from iowa 2021-03-20 11:27

    When ohoney wasicu kristian magats run amok, it proves there is no god.

  8. SD is 20 per cent nonwhite 2021-03-20 11:51

    The hope here is in the rewrite, the Senate will kill the bill.

    The House voted 50 to 17 to pass. The House goose steps along with Noem!

    Shameful that Noem and most Legislators are just insisting on smashing the rights of trans, Native Americans, all minorities, all people.

    Make America White again movement is doomed to fail.

    We need maybe 2 to 3 center left Parties to break out of this two parties acting like one party dreary cycle.

    I don’t want my legislators to cave in for me. I don’t want them voting in a white supremacist, smash the poor people and minorities agenda either.

    We need a Progressive Party and 2 other Parties , more Parties is better. We are here to split the Republican Party down to 2% (seriously) and the Democratic Party down to 10%. Democrats don’t fight for us, they cave in.

    The Canadians are geniuses for having Universal health care. Americans are idiots for believing that voters can only have 2 parties (as if we are so dumb we can’t count past 2).

    Would you like to walk into a grocery store or Walmart and see only 2 kinds of cereal? That’s our political system.

    We could have Antarctican Progressive and Greenland Liberal Party and even Brazilian Center Left Party. That’s much better than the Vanilla Fascist Party and Vanilla Fascist Bipartisan Bitch Party that we now have.

  9. happy camper 2021-03-20 12:00

    She’s dangerous, Rules-Don’t-Apply-To-Me Noem, who knows what she really believes this is just a hot-button issue that plays to her base, although I happen to agree with her in this instance, and I carry the G in all these letters LGBTQ. Who’s in charge of all these letters anyway we should wonder. Activists don’t speak for that alphabet. Nobody does only each individual. I asked another gay friend his thoughts on Transgender clearly many gay people are not seeing the issue as the progressive arm of the Democratic Party. It’s just politics for them too, it certainly isn’t about science or being concerned for the kids involved. The science, minus those children born with ambiguous genitalia, is clear. A female has ovaries, menstruates, and can birth a child. A male is born with a clearly different biological goal. Anyone with this confusion needs love and acceptance, counseling and support not puberty blockers and a knife, and they certainly have no right to compete with natural-born women, real women, whatever we need to remember separates the two for scientific reasons. I maintain if “Progressives” would stop trying to force the public to say and believe things clearly contrary to elementary school science transgender issues would receive much more sympathetic and empathetic support. When you try to dictate to people that naked men are wearing beautiful clothes, they are gonna push back, and unfortunately towards Transgenders and amplify the true bigotry, not your made-up stuff. This is just another instance where I don’t believe progressives really care about people. They care about their politics, their ideas, insisting they’re right without really understanding the issues. I’m G in this letter umbrella don’t speak for me, and don’t assume you know how L,B,T and Q think and feel they are individual people not a group for you to use for political points. This applies to both radical left or right for every Noem there is a Looney Tuney Lefty just waiting to give a little toot.

    Have a nice day out there it’s gonna be beautiful even here in South Dakota. Things are getting more hopeful every day don’t be so dreary. Get on your bike and go for a ride!!!

  10. SD is 20 per cent nonwhite 2021-03-20 12:03

    Some people think reducing the Republican Party down to 2% is unrealistic.

    I give you the 1912 South DakotaPresidential vote-

    Teddy Roosevelt, Progressive. 58000 votes
    Woodrow Wilson. Democratic. 48000 votes.
    0 votes for Taft, Republican President!

    Just think of 3 groups of people. All those under 18 who will be future voters. All minority voters. All the out of state people who move here from CA, N.Y. and more liberal states. That’s where the change will happen.

    But we need to have new Parties to vote for.

  11. M 2021-03-20 12:23

    Queen Covid Kristi is in the news and that’s all her and Cory care about.
    Get her face and name out there, doesn’t matter what she says or does.
    Face, name recognition, Republican, and fighting the culture war.
    The shadow of a person, heartless, and with no soul.
    Does she ride a white horse?
    Does she play the victim or the hero or both?

  12. Whitless 2021-03-20 12:35

    Noem’s “style and form” veto is probably meant to avoid a political no win situation for her. Once again, we are witnessing a lack of leadership by a governor who focuses on her political viability as being the foremost consideration. An outright veto would result in condemnation by social conservatives. Signing the bill would mean bad publicity and perhaps adverse economic consequence, e.g. loss of NCAA Tournaments, business investment. Instead, she avoids leading by calling her rewrite of the bill’s provisions as style and form. Even an elementary student can readily understand that these are not style and form changes.

  13. Mike J 2021-03-20 12:39

    What I get a kick out of with this bill is it only seems to target males transitioning to females. What about females transitioning to male. They would have to compete in female sports even though they are taking hormones to transition to male. Which makes them stronger than most other females.

    If I remember right, they had that problem down in Texas a number of years ago. A female high school wrestler was transitioning to male and they made him wrestle other girls. Of course, he was stronger and won and that made the other parents mad. But he was stuck by the state’s rules.

  14. Mark Anderson 2021-03-20 12:48

    Oh Happy I am happy. Had a great walk again today, so much better for you than riding a bike. As far as this law goes, it must be a plague of transgender athletes in all those red states ruining womens sports. Why the ncaa has it right, just giving the men workout equipment and the women access to the kitchen, sorry I added that last one. I’ve already covered Renee Richard’s via Chris Evert. Whats to say, certain people want power over others, its in their nature. Usually they are Republicans you simply have to feel sorry for them. Of course they will go after any group that has little power such as transgender, simply because they can. Its a way to fight Democrats because they are to cowardly to do that directly.

  15. bearcreekbat 2021-03-20 12:53

    The idea that “It’s just politics for [the progressive arm of the Democratic Party] too . . . ” seems totally upside down. Unless, however, it is “just politics” to object to a group using the power of the State to restrict the freedom of personal choices by individuals that harm no other person. As best I can tell, essentially all Trumpist trangender legislative efforts have been aimed at restricting the freedom and activities of individuals, which by its very nature constitutes political action by the State.

    Meanwhile, as best I can tell, the efforts of “the progressive arm of the Democratic Party” have been directed toward a single issue: the State should not engage in political activity attacking or restricting transgender individuals, rather, they should be treated the same as all other people. The Trumpist projects are, on their face, bullying political attacks trying to change laws to allow discrimination. If opposing such actions constitutes “just politics,” then it can only be because the the attacks are political in nature, rather than the non-political private conduct of simply beating up and killing transgenders without state action.

  16. Eve Fisher 2021-03-20 12:56

    I see that Happy Camper still won’t recognize the scientific fact that the ability to birth children does not make a female: 1 in 5000 women (genetically XY) are born without wombs. Nor apparently, has he grasped that some transgenders were genetically female and identify as male. In fact, nobody in South Dakota seems to give a good gosh-darn about that one. I notice that the bills are always about protecting girls, not boys.

  17. Arlo Blundt 2021-03-20 12:57

    well…Kristi wants to “rebracket” her legislation…the Activities Association reports that this year there were no transgender athletes, when there were, it wasn’t a problem…Kristi is legislating in a vacuum

  18. Loren 2021-03-20 13:08

    So, if I understand her correctly, Kristi still wants to discriminate, but more eloquently? Uh… okay…

  19. Donald Pay 2021-03-20 14:12

    Arlo has it right. The reason for this bill is not competition in girls athlectics; it’s competition for dollars from the tighty righties. The reason she kind of pulled back is dollars from big business. It never was about anything but dollars. Oh, you think it was about some hot issue bubbling up from the grassroots? Arlo gives you the facts. It’s an issue manufactured out of nothing for the benefit of finding out who gets the dollars.

  20. 96Tears 2021-03-20 15:23

    Arlo and Don nail it. She is reconstructing the first lie (gee, I can’t to sign that bill) into a second lie (golly, I suppose that bill just bit the dust).

    COVID Kristi’s entire purpose of having the title of governor is to jump to the next level, the White House. Other than her pioneering bounty on skunks, raccoons, possums and other vermin, she has no signature accomplishments. Nothing, except strings of lies.

    But what does COVID Kristi do for COVID Kristi? With a legislature filled with saps and twits, she gets away with anything. Guaranteed!

    She uses the State Treasury as her private checking account. A half million dollars per year on national campaign staff. Five million for a new presidential campaign jet. A half-million dollar gate around the mansion to protect her from a increasingly enraged public. A $140,000 TV studio downstairs from her office for Fox TV appearances. Unlimited millions for TV ads showing her face in tourism ads to the Trump base viewers on Fox. State employees performing the duties of her campaign bodyguards (how much? Nobody will tell the taxpayers.). It would be interesting to know what other “liberties” she took in her career of government positions.

    Give COVID Kristi access to a government bank account or a credit card … and you’ll see money disappear. If you or I did that, it would be called T-H-E-F-T.

    Is there an auditing service that can investigate how COVID Kristi has spent government money as a state elected official and as a federal office holder? I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a pattern of behavior.

  21. o 2021-03-20 15:27

    Happy Csmper’s “science” is still a fog of political ideology wrapped in a hint of reductive simplification.

    To you and your Right/MAGA/GOp brethren, the “Progressive agenda” of normalizing, of extending to all (yep, even those different from you) the same rights and privileges that you work to reserve for your “normal” self must seem fantastical.

    I suppose it never occurred to you that this whole “Progressive agenda” was triggered by your regressive removal of basic human rights from targeted communities (be it race, culture, gender, orientation . . .)

    I do suppose your live was easier when those were “different” just remained invisible, when so many denied either themselves or their identification.

  22. jake 2021-03-20 15:41

    $$$$, Don is right-on! Follow the money, play it all off on the parent’s thinking it is THEIR kids’ inherent right to be the top athlete; hence commensurate scholarships.

  23. mike from iowa 2021-03-20 16:58

    Magats seem to believe it is okay to discriminate against some athletes until money is involved in collegiate sports. Then they back off so as not to lose pesos. Maybe they should just tax trans athletes through high school and they won’t appear to be doing it for greed.

  24. mike from iowa 2021-03-20 17:05

    I am sure there are six feet and under basketball players who feel it is unfair for the other team to be stocked with 7 feet tall players.

    I would like to see a trans girl basketball player play against iowa AA freshman Caitlin Clark and see if Clark thinks the other girl has an advantage. Clark led NCAA women in scoring per game, assists per game, 3 pt shots and 3 pt shots made and she was tied for 2nd with one triple double and led the nation with 11 thirty point games. And she far outshone Paige Buechers from U Conn whom all the writers fawned over all year and named her the only frosh on the AA team. Clark made 2nd team in a big debacle.

  25. Mark Anderson 2021-03-20 18:15

    You know Mike from Iowa, Chloe Lamb from Onida, South Dakota has helped lead USD for the last four years. She only scores when she needs to and early, because USD is balanced. We will see Monday how well they do against Oregon who has six women who are taller than the USD center. The last time they played, USD beat them by 34 points in the NIT playoffs five years ago. In that game the USD women hit 15 of 24 three pointers. They went on to win the NIT. My brother who is also from Iowa has been telling me about the freshman phenomenon from Iowa, but I believe they don’t play horse enough in the tall corn land to matter.

  26. mike from iowa 2021-03-20 18:32

    Mr Anderson, you just made my case for me. Thank you.

  27. Bob Newland 2021-03-20 21:08


  28. Arlo Blundt 2021-03-20 21:09

    to clarify 20% comments about third party history in South Dakota Presidential elections, particularly the 1912 Presidential campaign Theodore Roosevelt in June of that year won the Republican Presidential primary in South Dakota, with Taft the incumbent Republican President coming in third behind Robert La Follette of Wisconsin. Roosevelt was then denied the Republican nomination later that summer-they nominated Taft-so Roosevelt organized the Bull Moose (Progressive) Party and ran under that party in the November election. In South Dakota, since he had won the primary, Roosevelt appeared on the Republican ticket and outpolled Wilson the Democrat by 10,000 votes (8.9%) Roosevelt’s electors were Bull Moose Progressives (Senator Coe Crawford and Governor Vessey for example) Taft received no votes because he had lost the primary and did not appear on the ballot. Roosevelt was the Republican candidate and the Bull Moose candidate.

  29. Bill 2021-03-21 17:57

    quoth Donald:

    “It’s sort of a tip off that Noem just makes it up as she goes, rather than study an issue and the bills before she shoots from the hip.”

    Well, this *is* one of the members of the state house who voted to teach *astrology* in 2010. How can anyone be surprised here?

  30. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-03-22 05:31

    BCB, she doesn’t fear pushback from the 18-year-olds; she welcomes it, and welcomes the young protestors to get fed up and leave for liberal states, thus ensuring she maintains her 3.4% margin in 2022 and can announce her bid for the Presidency on November 15, 2022.

    Noem is only in a quandary now because she wasn’t ready for the smokeout of HB 1217, didn’t study the bill, didn’t realize the full NCAA sanctions and legal costs the state and its schools would face, and now can’t extricate herself, was too busy campaigning and jetsetting to participate in the Legislative Session the way Bill Janklow and Dennis Daugaard would have to properly amend the bill, popped off on International Women’s Day to score press points, and now can’t figure out a graceful way to extricate herself from the mess without looking like a wimp to her rabid right-wing fans.

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