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South Dakota Senate committee rejects ban on trans high school athletes

By a vote of 5-2, the Republican-controlled Education Committee soundly rejected SB 49.

Rally Held In Support Of Transgender Community
People across the country are rallying to protect trans people from government-sponsored discrimination.
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

For the third time, trans high school and youth athletes in South Dakota were spared further discrimination with the rejection of an anti-trans-athlete bill.

This time around, Senate Bill 49 would have forced trans athletes to compete as the sex assigned at birth. Instead, the Republican-controlled Senate Education Committee voted 5-2 this week to reject the proposal, killing it before it could come to a full-Senate vote. Republicans hold a super-majority in the state Senate — 29 of 35 seats.

The bill was proposed by Republican Sen. Jim Bolin, who said it was designed to protect competitive fairness. The repercussion would have been to drive trans athletes out of sports in South Dakota. It also would have created a dynamic in girls sports akin to Texas’ recent predicament with trans boy Mack Beggs winning two state wrestling championships. Ironically, some pointed to Beggs’ story as why the bill was needed.

This is the third time in five years that a bill like this has been defeated in South Dakota. It’s hard to believe this issue will gain much traction going forward.