SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Doctors say it’s the best thing you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19, but Governor Kristi Noem wants to make sure getting the vaccine is a personal choice.
Thursday she filed a bill guaranteeing three exemptions.
That was one of many topics that came up during her first legislative news conference of 2022, where she also gave updates on her transgender sports bill and the future of the abortion pill.
While 69% of South Dakotans have received at least one dose of the COVID 19 vaccine, Governor Kristi Noem says employers shouldn’t be allowed to require everyone to get the shot.
“We believe that vaccination should be a choice and we don’t believe people should be divided into two different classes those who are vaccinated and those who are not vaccinated and we reject that which we have seen in other parts of the country,” Noem said.
On Thursday, the governor filed legislation that would allow a medical exemption if a South Dakota physician signs a certificate attesting that the COVID-19 vaccination is not in the best medical interest of the employee.
The bill would also allow an exemption on religious grounds, and recognizes natural immunity. Noem says it could be claimed with proof of a positive antibody test within the past six months.
Reporters also asked Noem about the future of a bill restricting the use of abortion pills after a federal judge put the requirement on hold.
Noem says she’ll push forward with it because she believes it will protect women.
The governor also addressed questions about Senate Bill 46, which says athletes must only compete on teams based on their biological sex.
“There are many activities and competitions in the state where biological sex doesn’t matter debate academics things of that nature, but when it comes to sporting events where it’s an athletic competition, it does make a difference because the biology is different and that’s why in South Dakota this bill is being brought forward,” Noem said.
Senate Bill 46 will continue Tuesday after a procedural move in the House today delayed it until next week.