GOP Governor Kristi Noem Threatens Lawsuit Against Feeding LGBTQ Students Lunch

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A new initiative to cut off school lunch funds for schools that deviate from federally-backed transgender policy in classrooms has South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem threatening a lawsuit.

The dispute comes after new rules, proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that would stop sending money to public schools that prohibit transgender youth from participating in sports or using gender-designated bathrooms of their choice.

“President Biden is holding lunch money for poor Americans hostage in pursuit of his radical agenda,” Noem said in a statement sent to the Argus Leader.

A new initiative to cut off school lunch funds for schools that deviate from the federally-backed transgender policy in classrooms has South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem threatening a lawsuit.

The dispute comes after new rules, proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that would stop sending money to public schools that prohibit transgender youth from participating in sports or using gender-designated bathrooms of their choice.

“President Biden is holding lunch money for poor Americans hostage in pursuit of his radical agenda,” Noem said in a statement sent to the Argus Leader.

In early May, the USDA announced that K-12 schools would be at risk of losing federal funding for free-and-reduced price meal programming if they do not adhere to federal LGBTQ+ inclusivity policies. The USDA spends more than $14 billion through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) annually, a program that feeds more than 29 million children in the United States each day.

“USDA is committed to administering all its programs with equity and fairness, and serving those in need with the highest dignity, ”USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement when the proposed rule was announced. “A key step in advancing these principles is rooting out discrimination in any form—including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. At the same time, we must recognize the vulnerability of the LGBTQI+ communities and provide them with an avenue to grieve any discrimination they face.”

While Noem is threatening a lawsuit, there’s no standing for a court intervention until the proposed USDA rules for public schools are finalized. A public comment and rules review period are underway.

Still, this isn’t the first time Noem has threatened litigation against federal regulations before they were finalized. Last year, when the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued an order requiring large employers to institute vaccine mandates, she also took to social media to say “See you in court” in a barb at President Joe Biden.

Noem is speculated to be angling for national political attention in the 2024 presidential race.

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