Tuesday, March 1, 2016

South Dakota Governor Vetoes Anti-Transgender "Bathroom Bill"

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard

Governor Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota has vetoed House Bill 1008, which would have made South Dakota the first state to ban transgender students from using school restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

“Thank you Governor Daugaard for meeting with transgender people to see through their eyes that they are our friends, family, and neighbors, worthy of the same fair treatment and dignity as everyone else,” said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of Equality Federation. “The more people get to know about the real lives of transgender people, the more empathy prevails. All students, including transgender students, should be able to fully participate and have a fair opportunity to thrive in school.”

The state legislature could vote to overturn Daugaard's veto. But, at least for now, the votes are lacking in the state Senate which voted in favor of the bill 20-15, which falls short of the necessary two-thirds threshold.

Congrats South Dakota! And thank you, Gov. Daugaard.

UPDATE: It looks like the bill's sponsor doesn't want to do a veto fight. From Rep. Fred Deutsch's response:

"HB 1008 was intended to be a practical solution to our evolving social values on gender issues. Unfortunately emotions on both sides of this issue have dominated the news coverage and the recent debate. I still believe an objective reading of the proposed law is consistent with my intent to be non-discriminatory and fair to all students and parents.

However, because I think the national focus on South Dakota should be on our positive business environment, strong labor market and the excellent work our schools do, I am going to ask my legislative colleagues to concur with the Governor's veto. Further focus on this issue will detract from the other significant accomplishments of the legislature this session."

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