South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem will introduce girls’ sports bill banning trans competitors as outrage grows over UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas

( Kristi Noem, the Republican governor of South Dakota, is planning to introduce a new bill that would limit participation from transgender athletes in sports for females.

It would add South Dakota to the growing list of Republican-led states that are passing similar legislation. South Dakota’s version is called “An Act to protect fairness in women’s sports.”

The bill is being introduced at a time when the debate over transgender athletes participating in sports is reaching new heights. Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, broke records this month at a swim meet while participating on the women’s team.

The bill that Noem plans to introduce would restrict student athletes at both the K-12 and collegiate levels to joining only sports team that would align with their “biological sign at birth.” The bill defines this as “the sex listed on the athlete’s official birth certificate.”

In announcing the forthcoming legislation this week, Noem said in a statement:

“This is about fairness. Every young woman deserves an equal playing field where she can achieve success, but common sense tells us that males have an unfair physical advantage over females in athletic competition. It is for those reasons that only girls should be competing in girls’ sports.

“Women have fought long and hard for equal athletic opportunities, and South Dakota will defend them, but we have to do it in a smart way.”

This new bill comes after South Dakota’s House of Representatives wasn’t able to override Noem’s veto of their Bill 1217. That would’ve made trans girls’ and women’s participation in any school sport illegal.

When she vetoed the bill, Noem said she was fearful that the legislation wouldn’t be able to withstand challenges that could be brought against it, saying at the time that she had future plans to come up with a bill that was more comprehensive.

In following up on that, Noem explained recently that:

“This legislation does not have the problematic provisions that were included in last year’s House Bill 1217. Those flawed provisions would have led to litigation for our state, as well as for the families of young South Dakota athletes — male and female alike.”

One of the ways that the governor sought to strengthen her version of the bill — and potentially protect against legal challenges — was by removing a requirement for athletes to have to give a written statement that verified that they didn’t take performance-enhancing drugs.

Noem also reported that her version cut the “onerous paperwork requirement” that parents had in the other bill to report the gender of their children.

In a statement that was provided to Fox News, Ian Fury, a spokesman for Noem, said:

“Given HB 1217’s problematic provisions, there was a higher risk of the entire bill being enjoined if South Dakota were to be sued by the NCAA. If that had happened, no girls in South Dakota would have been protected (at K-12 or collegiate level).”