Press "Enter" to skip to content

Conservatives Point out Noem’s Failure to Advance Coherent, Constitutional Position on HB 1217 Veto

The Governor’s paid spin blog is trying to dismiss the mess she’s made of the transgender athlete ban as “House Members Throwing Rocks at Governor.” Such is the standard Team Noem deflection: belittle opponents, portray them as being mean to the Governor so the public doesn’t focus on the actual policy actions rousing opposition.

But House Speaker Spencer Gosch (R-23/Glenham) isn’t throwing rocks; he’s just pointing out that, “We aren’t exactly sure what she’s asking us to do.” Neither, it seems, is Team Noem, which is talking a lot about apples:

Turns out “a new bill” wasn’t really what Governor Kristi Noem had in mind Saturday afternoon, when she tweeted about “a new bill” about fairness in girls’ sports.

The words posted on her Twitter account said: “Since Nov, I’ve been exploring litigation to defend Title IX and fairness in girls’ sports at ALL levels. To pursue that strategy, I’m asking legislators to pass a new bill on Veto Day, or I will call a special session. Let’s protect girls’ sports & fix the concerns with 1217.”

But her spokesman, Ian Fury, told KELOLAND News on Monday that the phrase “a new bill” actually was a reference to the recommendations made in the style-and-form veto that she had issued on Friday against HB 1217.

“There isn’t a different ‘replacement bill,’” Fury said. “The Legislature has 3 bites at the apple. They can 1) approve the style and form recommendations, 2) suspend the rules to pass the style and form recommendations as a new bill on Monday, or 3) pass such a bill in special session.”

So, the ‘new bill’ was actually the ‘style and form’ language?

“Correct,” Fury replied, “that tweet outlines bites 2 and 3 at the apple that I just referred to. It’s not new language, but it would technically be a new bill.”

Would a 2/3 majority in each chamber be needed to introduce it?

“If on Veto Day, yes,” Fury said. “It would require suspension of the rules. Special session would only require a simple majority for passage.”

What wasn’t clear was why the governor wouldn’t just try to get the style and form veto accepted. It requires a simple majority in each chamber.

“Governor Noem is still advocating for the style and form. Again, that’s the first bite at the apple,” Fury said [Bob Mercer, “S.D. Governor Promised ‘A New Bill’ on Fairness in Girls’ Sports, But She Meant Something Else,” KELO-TV, 2021.03.22].

Spokesboy Fury might as well call Noem’s veto of House Bill 1217 an “apple” as call it a “style-and-form veto”, because it is clearly neither. Even HB 1217 sponsor Rep. Rhonda Milstead (R-9/Hartford), who got to fly to Florida with Governor Noem last month to tell CPAC all about the great progress South Dakota is making in bullying transgender kids, plainly sees the Governor is trying to rewrite her bill, not her grammar:

“I think just common sense is going to tell all of us that it’s not style and form,” Milstead said. “Style and form, if we go back to our English classes on what style and form is, has nothing to do with substance, which is what she did. She rewrote the bill, and that’s not her job” [Dan Santella, “Lawmakers Milstead, Sutton, Gosch, Healy, and Heinert React to Noem’s ‘Style and Form’ Veto,” KELO-TV, 2021.03.23].

Speaker Gosch joins that critique which our Constitution-minded Governor should appreciate:

Republican Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch questions if the style and form veto was appropriately utilized.

“I do have some very grave concerns on constitutionality here, and my oath of office requires me to uphold what the Constitution says,” Gosch said [Santella, 2021.03.23].

I didn’t hear the GOP spin blog saying Noem was just “throwing rocks” when she invoked her Constitutional duty to fight Amendment A. Why is Speaker Gosch just “throwing rocks” when he invokes his Constitutional duty to resist unconstitutional Executive overreach?

And how is “throwing rocks” to point out that Noem has taken a “position” that is really hard to understand and now threatens her national asiprations?

The governor shied away from the bill when her office showed signs of turmoil — a key member of her staff who oversaw both policy and communications announced she was leaving. Ultimately, Noem crafted an escape plan that left plenty angry and tarnished her hard-charging reputation: a partial veto.

Noem’s missteps have landed her at the center of a rift within the GOP. Its leaders find themselves caught between trying to please both business groups and hard-line social conservatives. Even Noem, who has built a reputation of not backing down from fights, has struggled to articulate a clear position on the ban.

“She was considered a shining star in the GOP with a bright future. No more,” Michael Farris, the head of an advocacy group, Alliance Defending Freedom, that backed the bill, wrote on Facebook after Noem announced her partial veto.

“We don’t need leaders who lack the courage to stand up to the corporate bullies who want to turn our country into an amoral wasteland filled with compliant consumers,” Farris added [Stephen Groves, “In South Dakota, Noem Bends—Partially—on Transgender Ban,” AP via ABC News, 2021.03.23].

How is it throwing rocks to point out that Noem couldn’t organize a brilliant press conference to distract from this bill botch-up to the creation of a “national coalition” that would give her more chances to travel around the country talking to cameras:

The news conference, held in a hotel conference room, appeared to be a hastily assembled affair: One attendee got into an argument with the governor over marijuana legalization and none of the promised celebrity endorsers was physically present, instead offering support through video messages and a statement.

“Let’s take action that really gives us the result of protecting women’s sports,” Noem said, likening the bill to a “participation trophy” that would inevitably be struck down if the NCAA sued.

But it is not clear if the bill, even as rewritten by Noem, would stand up to legal scrutiny. A similar law enacted in Idaho last year was temporarily blocked by a federal court, though Noem has proposed taking out some sections that could lead to legal battles.

In a statement before the news conference, Alliance Defending Freedom dismissed Noem’s effort as nothing more than damage control.

“Politicians launch belated ‘initiatives’ for political theater and to create distractions,” said the group’s general counsel Kristen Waggoner.

Noem attempted to salvage her record, saying: “I’m still excited to sign the bill. Nothing’s changed.”

But she is trying to change many parts of the bill [Groves, 2021.03.23].

And how was it “throwing rocks” for Fox News talker Tucker Carlson to speak to Noem from her personal Fox studio in Pierre and say that, by vetoing the bill out of fear that South Dakota would lose college tournaments, Noem was “caving to the NCAA“?

“This bill would only allow the NCAA to bully South Dakota,” she said. ” And it would actually prevent women from being able to participate in collegiate sports. So what I have done is I have asked the legislature … to change the bill.”

Noem said the bill would allow the NCAA to take punitive action against South Dakota.

“We have had to fight hard to get any tournaments to come to South Dakota,” she said. “When they took punitive action against us we would have to litigate, and legal scholars that I have been consulting with for many, many months say I would very likely lose those litigation efforts.”

“Wait,” Carlson interjected. “So you are saying the NCAA threatened you … they said ‘If you sign this, we won’t allow girls in South Dakota to play’ and you don’t think you can win in court — even though the public overwhelmingly supports you nationally — and so you are caving to the NCAA?” he emphasized.

Noem dismissed Carlson’s insinuation as “completely wrong,” and reiterated her commitment to protecting women’s sports [Yael Halon, “Tucker Asks Noem If She Is ‘Caving to the NCAA’ over Bill Banning Transgender Women from Girls’ Sports,” Fox News, 2021.03.22].

Far be it from me to spend too much time listening to, much less affirming, Tucker Carlson (see Carlson’s baseless assertion that the public overwhelmingly supports Noem nationally), but it’s pretty clear to me that when you strip mention of college sports from a bill to avoid repercussions from college sports organizations, you are surrendering to pressure from the NCAA, no matter how many words you string together indicating the contrary.

None of the conservatives cited above are merely “throwing rocks” at poor Kristi Noem. They are pointing out that the Governor is violating the South Dakota Constitution, failing to articulate a coherent position, and putting on a media sideshow to distract from her incoherence. Far from gratuitous political insults (and the GOP spin blog is usually expert at identifying and deploying such insults), these criticisms are valid observations of a Governor distracted and adrift, observations that primary and general election voters ought to know about.

But let’s see what apples the Snow Queen hands out today. Maybe she’ll call them oranges….


  1. Scott 2021-03-23 07:44

    Given Noem’s track record of failures, what does one expect from Noem. Failed Meth campaign, backing of loosers like Trump and the Georgia Senators, Failure to stop hemp and weed, failing to control Covid, ………

    I’m guessing this so called fairness in womens sports campaign will end the same way the Meth battle did.

    After Easter she will have to come up with something else to try and get media attention.

  2. John 2021-03-23 08:02

    Political parties either control their radical zealots or become them.
    The party of go-along-to-get-along, fall-for-anything and stand-for-nothing is near its nadir.

  3. John 2021-03-23 08:13

    Noem has 2 new starting points for her ballyhooed “civics education”.
    1) how to write a bill, or how the legislature works (and how it doesn’t); and
    2) this fabulous, work in progress, map of the Native lands of North America and beyond. Enter an address to see who’s land you’re squatting upon. The work also catalogs the treat(ies) invoked.

  4. Donald Pay 2021-03-23 09:07

    She’s a joke, kind of like Trump. Who can believe a constant gaslighter who has her hands out for money. She’s like Lili Von Schtupp in Blazing Saddles. Or, consider another Mel Brooks movie, The Producers. She found a bad bill, thought she could milk a lot of “Chrisitian” dollars out of it, and the damn bill actually passed!!! That wasn’t supposed to happen!

  5. Buckobear 2021-03-23 09:12

    Future headline??
    “Trans bill passes, so does Amazon.”

  6. Richard Schriever 2021-03-23 09:46

    John, The party of go-along-to-get-along, fall-for-anything and stand-for-nothing is NOWHERE NEAR its nadir. This is simply the mid-section of its slide into the sand pit of obscurity.

  7. Nix 2021-03-23 10:30

    Riot Boosting
    Roadblocks on the Reservations
    Threats to Madison Howard.
    But wait ….The NCAA is bullying South
    Dakota ?
    I guess the Queen believes that the NCAA, Amazon and other possible opportunities will not notice that her transphobia only applies to grade school
    and high school athletes, not College
    See….aren’t we wonderful?
    When she was asked who else has joined the “National Coalition “ her answer was Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi has already signed law on this.
    Mississippi …. Wow. I want our state to be just like Mississippi.

  8. o 2021-03-23 11:19

    There is a STRONG movement in the MAGA wing to show strength through “owning the libbies.” Almost unrelated to any true belief, points are scored for taking up an issue for the sole purpose of angering the left. The more someone stirs up the liberals, the more MAGA their street cred.

    Add to this the GOP trope that government is ineffectual in all ways (and to prove this point, ensure NOTHING gets done by government), and you can see where the Governor erred. She stirred the pot to get the left angry, then went too far — she DID something more than pontificate. She made law; so must face real consequences for that real change.

  9. Mark Anderson 2021-03-23 11:26

    It takes a village of conservatives to pick on transsexuals, it gets them excited, a safety in numbers thingy.

  10. leslie 2021-03-23 12:22

    This blog is a wonderful forum. Recently Cory compared Gov Daugaard to Noem’s bigotry exposed in her bullying behavior aimed at the trans community.

    Cory has previously shown us Noem in stupid T-shirts like “I’m always right” showing her pouting child-like behavior similar to this ridiculous bullying behavior of shoe-horning a “style and form” veto, or even a “one subject rule” into the justification to overrule a popular initiative.

    On 1.06.21 an woman named Maimone was photographed in the Capitol Crypt and published on her right wing Parler account wearing the T-shirt GUNS, GOD AND TRUMP. She has been arrested of course because she pulled her American Flag face mask down. She is wearing a tactical camo ball cap w/green/black American Flag patch velcroed to her forehead JUST LIKE NOEM likes to dog-whistle violent right wing militia groups like Oath Keepers (whose logo is surprisingly like SD Nat Guard’s “minute man patriot”) and Three Percenters. Fashion statement? She was photographed there tresspassing by her joy boy the infamous Philip C. “Flip” Vogel (also arrested).

    Now the Tennessee right wing legislature is doing the same thing Daugaard did when his state Geographic Name board was put out of action by brand new legislation preventing further name changes like Black Elk Peak because of the racist tantrum SD voters threw after the federal board made the change over Daugaard’s resistance.

    The 1st KKK leader’s bust was recommended removed by the Tennessee Governor’s historical commission action. But Republicans want to scrap the commission to make it harder to make such historical decisions. Bullying abuse of political power. Manipulation of the makeup of the commission. White supremacy. Confederate Lost Cause.

    ALL IN, MSNBC podcast (3.19.21 @ 25:00).

    Noem is all “style and form” without gravitas. Who hoped for a national platform to give her more media exposure. Take on the NCAA. Take on the transgendered community. Take on Dr Fauci.

    Daugaard gave up and went home. Noem should too. An “R” after your name, w/o integrity, is an empty shell.

  11. grudznick 2021-03-23 14:58

    Clearly, Governor Noem’s mind has snapped or she had been fed brownies full of the demon weed. Or she something really nefarious cooking I that pretty little head of hers. I’m just sayin…

  12. Arlo Blundt 2021-03-23 16:30

    well…she needs to pivot….she’s painted herself into a corner with her foray into women’s sports….better to announce her concern that the sacred rights of every mental patient to keep and bear a fully automatic weapon are being endangered in our state and propose appropriate legislation…change the subject to something everyone can agree with…keep moving…

  13. Mark Anderson 2021-03-23 18:50

    Oh grudz, its exactly like in Cabaret, right after the little boy Nazi sings tommorrow belongs to me and the entire crowd joins him, when leaving with a rich financial, the English academic says, “do you still think you can control them?”

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-03-24 05:38

    Nix, yes, you get the contradiction of the Noem Administration. Noem is a bully, but she cries ‘bullying” when she faces opposition.

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-03-24 05:38

    (Wait: “the” contradiction? I mean “one of the main” contradictions.)

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-03-24 05:46

    Note also the servile spin Pat Powers parrots from the Governor’s office: his only commentary on Tucker Carlson’s dismantling of Noem’s position in their TV interview was to repost the clip Noem tweeted in which she says to Carlson, “You’re preaching my sermon: only girls play girls’ sports.” That’s the same sort of selective quoting Pat used last month when he wanted to make the floor tile damage in Grove Hall sound like an enormous ongoing safety danger and example of Regental mismanagement. Pat picks the quotes that say the opposite of the main thrust of the issue just to make his side look good and the other side look dumb. And in this case, he’s not even being creative with his own selective quoting; he’s using the manipulative quoting issued by the Governor’s office.

    A blog is only worth the original value it adds to public discourse. If a blog only repeats and amplifies the propaganda issued by the powers that be, it does a disservice to the public.

  17. leslie 2021-03-24 21:41

    Cory I could not find this quotation in the ABC link: ‘creation of a “national coalition” that would….’

Comments are closed.