S.D. Athletic Commission adjusts COVID rules

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota Athletic Commission members decided Friday to alter but keep COVID-19 prevention measures for fighters, corners and officials they put in the month before.

The move came a week after the chairman received a letter from Governor Kristi Noem calling for the commission to “immediately rescind, alter or suspend” requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Noem issued an April 20 executive order barring state government agencies and officials under her direct control from requiring proof.

The five commissioners spent more than a half-hour Friday in private discussion with their legal counsel and executive director working on adjustments.

The commissioners voted 4-1 to require that all competitors, corners, and officials must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event. Acceptable methods are a PCR test or antigen test.

The adjustments further say a competitor, corner, or official isn’t required to provide a negative COVID-19 test if the person has proof of COVID-19 antibodies within 90 days of the event, or has proof of a COVID-19 diagnosis in the 90 days prior to the event and has a physician’s statement of recovery.

After the vote chairman Michael Kilmer of Spearfish thanked members for their “hard work” keeping the commission “effective” and “on the right track.”

The commission governs the conduct of boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts competitions, and sparring exhibitions in South Dakota.

Voting for the adjustments were two medical doctors, Richard Little of Spearfish and Verle Valentine of Sioux Falls, attorney Maggie Gillespie of Alcester, and Kilmer. Voting no was Lee Lohff of Sioux Falls, a past fighter.

The panel’s action came the same day that Noem, a Republican, announced she is suing Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration for refusing to allow an Independence Day fireworks celebration at Mount Rushmore.

Noem hosted one at Mount Rushmore last year for Republican President Donald Trump as he ran for re-election.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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