Updates from Veto Day in Pierre: After HB 1217 fails, Gov. Noem signs two executive orders to ‘protect fairness’ in K-12 and college athletics

KELOLAND.com Original

UPDATED 4:58 p.m.

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Less than an hour after the House vote to override her veto of House Bill 1217, Gov. Kristi Noem announced two executive orders to “protect fairness” in K-12 and college athletics.

The first executive order for K-12 says “In South Dakota, only females, based on their biological sex, as reflected on their birth certificate or affidavit provided upon initial enrollment in accordance with South Dakota law, shall participated in any girls’ or women’s athletic event sanctioned by a public school, a school district, or an association meeting the requirements of South Dakota law, and;

The South Dakota Department of Education shall establish a policy consistent with this Executive Order and distribute the policy to all public school districts in this state.”

In the second executive order for college athletics, the wording says “the Board of Regents should take any and all steps to legally implement policies with the executive order.”

In an emailed statement, Gov Noem said “Given the legislature’s failure to accept my proposed revisions to HB 1217, I am immediately signing two executive orders to address this issue: one to protect fairness in K-12 athletics, and another to do so in college athletics.

Additionally, I will be working with legislative leaders to schedule a special legislative session in late May or early June. The special session will address this important issue, as well as others. The implementation of medicinal marijuana will require consideration of additional legislation. And the latest congressional spending bill may require legislative action once we fully understand its impact on our state budget.”


While members of the House slammed Gov. Kristi Noem’s veto of House Bill 1217 during the final House action Monday afternoon, lawmakers with the Senate wrapped up the day before the House vote was made.

House Speaker Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham) ruled that Gov. Noem caused HB 1217 to be vetoed.

Gov. Noem called her actions “not a veto.”

While the House was debating a vote on HB 1217, the South Dakota State Senate adjourned at 3:52 p.m. CDT, ending the Senate side of the 96th Legislative Session.  

HB 1217 could not become law without approval of both chambers, making the House discussion a matter of record only. Minutes later, the House override vote failed 45-24. It need 47 votes to move over to the Senate.

The House adjourned for the session at 4:04 p.m.

Members could return to Pierre but only if a special session were called.

KELOLAND News will have more coverage of the Veto Day online and on-air.


3:40 p.m.

Members of the House are meeting to determine the fate of House Bill 1217, which would ban transgender girls from participating in K-12 sports.

House Speaker Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham) read his response and said it “was rejected” by the governor. Gosch rules that Gov. Noem caused HB 1217 to be vetoed. The House will proceed to consideration of the veto. Passage in the House would require a two-thirds majority of at least 47 Representatives.

Rep. Rhonda Milstead (R-Hartford) said the South Dakota High School Activities Association was doing “a poor job” by allowing a biological boy to play in a female sport.

“If we do not pass this now, the small numbers will increase,” Milstead warned.

She asked who gets to decide what is good for girls sports.

Rep. Taffy Howard (R-Rapid City) called for lawmakers “to use our backbone.”

Rep. Steven Haugaard (R-Sioux Falls) said he’s tired of compromising principles for the benefit of finances. He said if a couple NCAA tournaments withdrew, new groups would come and hold events. 


2:45 p.m.

The South Dakota House of Representatives will wait to make the next step following Gov. Kristi Noem’s rejection of House Bill 1217.

In order to override Gov. Noem’s veto, the House would require a two-thirds majority of at least 47 Representatives. If the House overrides, the bill then goes to the Senate, where an override would need two-thirds majority of 24.

The House Republicans will meet in a caucus at 2:45 p.m.


12:45 p.m.

About an hour and a half after lawmakers soundly rejected her proposed changes to House Bill 1217, Gov. Krist Noem vetoed the bill. 

In a statement, Gov. Noem said “Given the House action, I cannot certify that the bill conforms with my specific recommendations. Therefore, my only option consistent with the constitution is the fail to certify the bill and to return it to you.”

She calls her actions “not a veto.”

The House now has to decide whether to override the veto. An override requires a 2/3 majority of at least 47 Representatives. If the House overrides, the bill then goes to the Senate, where an override would need 2/3 majority of 24. HB 1217 passed the Senate with 20 yes.


11:20 a.m.

The South Dakota House of Representatives voted 67-2 against Gov. Kristi Noem’s proposed changes to House Bill 1217.

Gov. Noem needed a simple majority to support her “style and form” veto. She garnered only two lawmakers’ support.

The bill now returns to the Governor to either sign the bill ‘as is’ or return an outright veto.

The House is now in recess.


11 a.m.

South Dakota House members are discussing the proposed “style and form” veto on House Bill 1217.

Rep. Rhonda Milstead (R-Hartford) is the bill’s prime sponsor. She said the style and form veto “is not appropriate for the executive branch.”

Rep. Taffy Howard (R-Rapid City) described Noem’s changes as “very substantive.” She urges a rejection.

Rep. Jon Hansen (R-Dell Rapids) says the veto isn’t actually of style and form.


Veto Day, the final day of the 2021 legislative session, is here. 

The House and Senate will convene at 11 a.m. Monday and the agenda is listed as  “consideration of executive vetoes.” KELOLAND News will have coverage and updates in this story from Bob Mercer and Dan Santella.

The big item up for consideration is changes around House Bill 1217, which originally sought to prohibit athletes who were born males from participating in female sports in K-12 and public colleges. Gov. Kristi Noem wants lawmakers to support her changes from what she’s calling a “style and form” veto.  

A full veto, where a governor is trying to stop legislation, requires 2/3 majorities in the House and the Senate to override. A style-and-form veto requires simple majorities in the two chambers to make the governor’s recommended changes.

Along with HB 1217, lawmakers may discuss any proposed changes surrounding medical marijuana, which will go into effect on July 1. 

House Speaker Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham) has told lawmakers to plan for more than a 24-hour day. He has also called for lawmakers not to support the “style and form” veto. He said the changes Gov. Noem has proposed are unconstitutional. Gov. Noem has publicly called for a special session if lawmakers don’t support her changes to HB 1217.

HB 1217 was passed in the House by a 50-17 margin. The bill failed in a Senate committee but was “smoked out” and passed the full Senate 20-15.

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