Senate panel rejects bill to void transgender athlete policy

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A South Dakota Senate panel has rejected a bill to void an activities association policy that lets transgender students play on the athletic team that matches their gender identity.

The Senate Education Committee voted 5-2 against the bill. It would have required a student’s sex to be determined by their birth certificate or a South Dakota High School Activities Association physical exam form.

Republican Sen. Jim Bolin, the sponsor, says the legislation was necessary to ensure fair competition. Association Executive Director Dan Swartos says the change wouldn’t be fair to schools or transgender youth.

The ACLU of South Dakota says at least two dozen other states have such policies. The group says South Dakota’s Legislature would have been the first to override one.

Similar bills failed in 2015 and 2016.