Today Governor Noem issued a partial veto of HB1217. Commonly referred to as a “style and form veto,” this veto proposes changes to a piece of legislation. Her recommendations include:

-Striking college athletics from Section 1, striking Section 2, and striking Section 4.

As we see it, these changes are subject to two questions:

-Are the changes a good idea? 

-Are they within her authority to make?

The answer to both questions, is no.

To the first question – Are these changes a good idea?

No, we do not see them as friendly, helpful, or needed. We cannot be in the position of claiming that “biology matters in high-school, but not when you get to college.” This claim will not stand up in court, nor is it based in reality. The changes suggested by the Governor would delete approximately half of the bill’s language.

To the second question – Are they within her authority to make?

No, these changes are not within her authority to make. Article 4, Section 4 of the SD Constitution clearly states that “Bills with errors in style or form” may be returned to the legislature with recommended changes. Even if the proposed changes were beneficial, they are outside of her authority to make. These changes are not corrections to errors in style or form, but instead, would set a dangerous precedent for lawmaking in South Dakota.

The Governor’s recommendations will be delivered to the Legislature on veto day, and the members will be asked to approve or disapprove of her recommendations.

If the members vote not to approve of the recommendations, the South Dakota Constitution says that the Governor will certify that the recommendations were not accepted and “…it shall be returned to the Legislature as a vetoed bill.”

Reference Links:

HB1217 Full Text

The Governor’s Message

Article 4 of the SD Constitution