Gov. Kristi Noem signed Senate Bill 46 on Thursday, codifying a debate about fairness in sports and transgender participation that has played out in the South Dakota Legislature since 2015.
“This bill has been an important priority for a lot of the people behind me,” she said moments before signing the bill. “I appreciate all of their hard work in making sure that girls will always have the opportunity to play in girls’ sports in South Dakota, and have an opportunity for a level playing field, for fairness, that gives them the chance to experience success (and) go on to potentially play at a higher level, earn scholarships, perhaps play professionally, and have a career.”
That means sports participation in South Dakota is now mandated to be segregated by sex assigned at birth – either for boys or girls or coed sports. The bill takes effect July 1.