SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Next week, the debate will begin again over South Dakota’s proposed transgender athlete bill. Several other states have passed similar legislation, but not all of those laws have taken effect.
Of the nine states that have passed transgender athlete laws, at least 4 are on hold and facing legal challenges. Federal courts in Arkansas and West Virginia have blocked laws that would have banned transgender athletes from joining school sports that match their gender identity.
Idaho’s law is tied up in court and so is Tennessee’s.
The ACLU argues that Arkansas’ law, which is similar to South Dakota’s proposal, violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause which says “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”
Beyond the legal ramifications are the possible financial losses states can face. The NCAA has pulled events from states over transgender laws in the past but seems to have backed off.
Something Governor Noem noted in her press conference on Thursday.
“We haven’t seen them pull events from other states that have passed similar bills to this I would anticipate that they would treat us fairly like they did those other states,” said Noem.
Jett Jonelis is the advocacy manager for the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota and says the NCAA has taken decisive action in the past.
“Pulling out of championships in 2016 in North Carolina when they passed an anti-trans bill. They’ve made statements supporting transgender athletes but they’ve kind of flip-flopped and at the end of the day they are going to do going to be concerned with their bottom line,” said Jonelis.
The NCAA is under fire from at least one civil rights group. The Human rights campaign says the NCAA’s new constitution, ratified last week, does not include nondiscrimination policy language that had been part of previous constitutions.
KELOLAND News reached out to the NCAA asking if a transgender law would impact South Dakota’s chances of hosting sporting events in the state. We did not get a response.
Senate Bill 46 will be back up for discussion on Tuesday.