Breaking: South Dakota Governor Vetoes Anti-Transgender Students Bill


GOP Governor Vetoes Anti-Trans Bill That Would Have Been First In The Nation Targeting Transgender Students

GOP Gov. Dennis Daugaard has vetoed a controversial bill that would have marginalized and targeted transgender students across South Dakota. Announcing the veto, Gov. Daugaard told lawmakers HB 1008 "does not address any pressing issue concerning the school districts of South Dakota."

The bill would have become the first law in the nation bill banning transgender students in public schools from using restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity. It passed the South Dakota Senate two weeks ago by a vote of 20-15. Daugaard had until today to sign or veto it, or it would have passed into law.

Daugaard, before the bill passed and was sent to his desk, told reporters it sounded like a "good idea," but also admitted he had never actually met any transgender person. Quietly, without announcement, Daugaard after the bill passed, did meet with a group of constituents who are transgender. He refused at that time to announce his intentions.

"Local school districts can, and have, made necessary restroom and locker room accommodations that serve the best interests of all students, regardless of biological sex or gender identity," Daugaard said in a statement Tuesday evening, noting that the bill "removes the ability of local school districts to determine the most appropriate accommodations for their individual students and replaces that flexibility with a state mandate."

One anti-LGBT lawmaker, GOP Sen. Brock Greenfield, had claimed the bill was necessary because "there's a very real agenda, there's a real effort nationwide to promote this issue."

Greenfield also, falsely, claimed that transgender people "spontaneously decide they no longer consider themselves transgender, and that happens with great frequency."

LGBT civil rights activists were very pleased.

“Gov. Daugaard has demonstrated true leadership in listening to the hundreds of transgender South Dakotans and their families who would have been directly impacted by this bill," National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said, thanking the governor. 

"He has made a carefully informed decision that protects all students in South Dakota. His example shows that scare tactics can be overcome by understanding who trans people really are."

Had Daugaard signed the bill into law, it could have sparked a nationwide movement for other states to pass similar legislation. By vetoing the bill, Daugaard may literally have helped save young lives.


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