Senate sends girls’ sports participation bill to House

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Senate sends girls’ sports participation bill to House

Proposed change to the participation in girls’ sports advanced in the legislature.


Senators passed Senate Bill 46, which changes the process of participation in girls’ sports, on a 27-6 vote, sending the bill across the Capitol’s Hall.


SB 46 would permit only biological females to participate in women’s sports and would grant an athlete “a private cause of action for injunctive relief” against a school district if it caused “harm” to the athlete, but includes a “hold harmless clause” that would require the State’s Attorney General represent a school district in court should it be sued for following the state law and any damages incurred by the school through a lawsuit would be paid by the state.


ASBSD opposes the bill through the Association’s resolution B7. Decision-Making Authority Regarding Transgender Legislation and supports the South Dakota Activities Association’s policy on participation in athletics, which includes a lengthy review process to permit participation of a transgender athlete in high school sports.


In the nearly a decade since the Activities Association implemented their participation policy the state has had one transgender athlete participate in the history of the policy and there are no transgender athletes currently participating.


“That’s not been a problem in South Dakota,” Sen. Arthur Rusch told fellow Senators, adding that Idaho and West Virginia have passed similar laws that have been challenged in court.


“Idaho has spent over $10 million defending themselves,” Sen. Rusch said. “Is it worth it to spend that kind of money a problem that doesn’t exist here?”


“This is premature. Let’s wait. Let’s save our money.”


SB 46 has been assigned to the House State Affairs committee while its counterpart bill, House Bill 1006, awaits committee assignment in its chamber of origin.


For updates on the bill and the 2022 legislative session, check the ASBSD Blog and Bill Tracker page.

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