PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota legislative committee on Friday approved a bill championed by Gov. Kristi Noem to ban transgender women and girls from participating in school sports leagues that match their gender identity.
With the Republican governor’s full-fledged lobbying, the bill received enthusiastic approval in the Republican-dominated Senate State Affairs committee, clearing a legislative hurdle that has been a key roadblock to similar South Dakota bills in the past. It was the first bill the committee took up this year as lawmakers try to fast-track it through the Statehouse.
Every Republican on the committee approved the bill, despite warnings from opponents that it alienates and bullies transgender students and exposes public schools to legal action for a political cause that has not been an issue in South Dakota. Proponents say it protects girls’ sports from trans athletes who may be bigger, faster and stronger than their peers.
“As a parent, I don’t really care if she becomes an elite athlete, but I want her to have the experiences of being on a team,” said Jennifer Phalen of her transgender daughter who aspires to participate in school gymnastics.
“Passage of this bill would directly hurt children,” she told the committee …read more