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Noem Sinks HB 1217 with Two Vetoes, Issues Illegal Order to Schools to Ban Transgender Girls from Girls Sports

The Legislature wisely rejected Governor Kristi Noem’s attempt to unconstitutionally rewrite House Bill 1217 under the thin guise of a “style-and-form veto.” The House threw out her fake veto on a vote of 2–67. Continuing to have difficulty using words correctly, Governor Noem then sent the bill back to the House, telling the House to treat HB 1217 as if she had vetoed it but insisting she was not vetoing it. The House took up this second veto but could only muster 45 votes, two shy of the 47 needed to override the Governor’s veto. (The Senate was so bored with the issue that it adjourned before the House voted.) The transgender bullying bill is thus dead… and Kristi Noem killed it.

But as she ran off to Rapid City to face the Lord’s punishment by fire, the Governor issued two executive orders to bully transgender girls. In Executive Order 2021-05, the Governor presumes to order public K-12 schools to bar transgender girls from playing girls sports teams and directs her Department of Education to establish a policy to that effect. Never mind that the Department of Education has no authority over extracurricular activities.  Never mind that elected public school boards have, under SDCL 13-36, vested that authority in the South Dakota High School Activities Association. Executive Order 2021-05 is flatly illegal, and school districts will give their students a valuable civics lesson by refusing to submit to this illegal order.

In Executive Order 2021-06, Governor Noem tempers her illegal enthusiasm by saying the Board of Regents “should” implement a similar ban on transgender women on their women’s sports teams. “Should” is not an order; “should” is a cop-out, more posing from our foundering Governor. The Board of Regents should pay as much attention to this fake order as Governor Noem pays to the voters who are telling her she should spend less time in Texas and more time in Pierre doing her job.

Having failed to get her way or enough attention, Governor Noem also wrote a letter to the Legislature filled with hogwash. She repeats her assertion that her rejected veto of HB 1217 was just style and form. She says her executive orders—one not legal, the other not an order—somehow “temporarily address the problem” (and “the problem” is not made clear by its placement in the fourth paragraph).

But most importantly, Noem says she is working with Legislative leaders to call a Special Session in late May or early June. Recognizing that a Special Session just to revisit HB 1217 is ridiculous, Noem piles two more issues onto the Special Session agenda: another swing at interfering with the medical marijuana initiative the voters approved in November and possible action related to President Biden’s coronavirus relief/stimulus package:

Gov. Kristi Noem, letter to Legislature, 2021.03.29.
Gov. Kristi Noem, letter to Legislature, 2021.03.29.

You know, if Noem had simply stayed home and done her homework, she wouldn’t need a Special Session. She’d have caught the problems in House Bill 1217 early and gotten fixes in committee, and she’d have worked out a compromise bill with legislators and the budding commercial cannabis lobby to smooth the July 1 implementation of medical marijuana. And the stimulus? Come on—Kristi didn’t think she needed any Legislative guidance on spending last year’s coronavirus relief funds, and she surely doesn’t want the legislature to weigh in this year to stop her from spending the money illegally or writing more checks to her brothers; claiming she may need a Special Session this spring to handle the big Biden package is just cover for her lack of preparation and her trivialization of the Special Session to serve her publicity whims.

Related Political Failure: Governor Noem’s weekend shoe-tweets helped a rapper sell 666 pairs of $1,018 sneakers in less than a minute.


  1. 96Tears 2021-03-29 20:42

    What an embarrassing train wreck. COVID Kristi is a miserable failure as a governor by any standard. She’s crashing and burning her national political aspirations. While I can’t think of a worse alternative for president or vice president, I hate to watch such ridiculous incompetence — and then lying about it with a straight face.

    That’s right, Kristi. It’s the fault of the mild mannered state press. Blame your GOP lawmakers. Blame Rolling Stone magazine, Tucker Carlson and a half dozen right wing think tanks. Blame … oh hell, fool, just look in the mirror.

    Go home, Noem. You are not a victim. You’re doing to yourself. You are stupid, reckless, self-indulgent and disconnected from reality. You stink up the Office of Governor of South Dakota.

  2. Bob Newland 2021-03-29 21:08

    Kristi appears to be attempting to enact a parody of the ultimate parody, her idol, twitterpate45. While it IS South Dakota, one of a few parodies of a state of the union, it seems unlikely to me that she has much of a “public servant” future.

  3. Disgusted Dakotan 2021-03-29 22:49

    She has been outed with many Republicans through her bumbling kabuki theater. Her double talk and intellectual (if not out right) dishonesty has disgusted many.

  4. John 2021-03-30 05:10

    Noem’s GOP “faces a sickness deeper than the coronavirus”.

    “The “swamp” that desperately needs draining isn’t in Washington, D.C. It’s in state capitals around the country, where undemocratic, anti-majoritarian officials are seizing rights from voters and flagrantly thwarting the will of the people.”
    In almost all cases these are republican governors and legislators from the ‘party of local control’, ‘states’ rights’, ’10th Amendment’, . . . .
    The judges and justices are at the core of this swamp and its with their support of gerrymandering – allowing legislators to pick their voters.

  5. Donald Pay 2021-03-30 08:19

    Well, it’s been fun watching Noem’s self-destruction from two states away. I imagine it’s no fun in South Dakota being governed by a fool.

    She’s lucky there are other Republican governors right now doing more destructive things to American democracy right now or the spotlight of shame would be shining more glaringly on her. I hate to say the obvious but that spotlight shows the Empress has no clothes. Generally, the fool in a play is a male character. Uh-uh-uh, Kristi. We can’t have a female playing a male character, now can we?

  6. Legal Beagle 2021-03-30 09:09

    2021-51 doesn’t really change anything, does it? SD AR 44:09:05:02 and 44:09:05:09 — courts in SD can still order the Dept. of Health to make amendments to a birth certificate regarding a transgender child. This has happened multiple times in by judges in the First and Second Circuits in SD in the recent past.

    Change the certificate. Checkmate, birthers.

  7. Owen 2021-03-30 09:50

    The key word here Cory is “attention.” That’s what this is about. Noem is using this fake problem to gain more national attention and appeal to the ever shrinking Trump supporters.
    She’s suggesting a solution to which there is no problem. I believe the SDHSAA has stated that there is no trans gender girl playing a girls sport in South Dakota.
    Calling a special session would be a big waste of time and again, she’s just looking for national attention.
    If Noem had any courage or believed in what she’s whining about she would go on the Rachael Maddow show and explain herself. But she knows she’d never be able to handle a person with a superior intellect.
    I’d liked Noem to give examples where Title IX is being attacked, but she won’t.
    666 shoes sold in under a minute? Fitting number.

  8. bearcreekbat 2021-03-30 09:56

    Legal Beagle, what sort of “documentary evidence” from the applicant did the courts accept to support issuing such an order changing gender on the particular SD birth certificates in the cases you reference from the First and Second Circuits? S.D. rules explicitly require such evidence:

    Documentary evidence required for amending records. Amendments more than one year after the date of the event except as noted in § 44:09:05:06 shall be supported by one or more items of documentary evidence that supports the alleged facts.

    Any document presented as evidence for amending a vital record, such as census, hospital, church, and school records, must be in the form of the original record, a certified copy, an authenticated copy, or a signed statement from the custodian of the record or document. An affidavit of personal knowledge may not be used to amend a vital record.

    Any document submitted in evidence for persons seven years of age and older must be dated at least seven years before the date of application or within three years after the date of birth. For persons under seven years of age, a document must be dated at least one year before the date of application or within the first year of life.

    If reason is found to question the validity or adequacy of the documentary evidence, the request for amendment shall be rejected and the applicant shall be advised of the right to an administrative hearing and judicial review.

    A.R.S.D. 44:09:05:03.

    This would seem to impose a difficult pre-requisite for changing one’s gender on a birth certificate.

  9. mike from iowa 2021-03-30 12:59

    Magats doing Welcome Wagon wear white sheets and pointy hoods and are delusional enough to believe no one knows their real agenda. .

  10. Lui 2021-03-30 14:23

    96Tears While mostly what has been said here is good, I really appreciated your post. I also went and looked up the words to 96 Tears. Great!

  11. Mark Anderson 2021-03-30 14:32

    Come on guys, she has to spend that covid money somehow, why not spread it around with a special session on transgenders, what could be more important for South Dakotans? Devil shoes maybe but certainly not their healthcare.

  12. grudznick 2021-03-30 19:15

    I have changed my mind about devil shoes. Before I was ambivalent, grudznick being an atheist and all, but now I’ve decided that devil shoes are OK. If somebody makes god shoes I will probably be against those, unless they look really neat-o.

    Governor Noem probably has enough covid money to buy every blogger in South Dakota devil shoes for their feet, and a fancy suit to go with it, and a hat snazzier even than my good friend Bob favors. And grudznick could use some new threads.

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