Aug Sept 2016
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South Dakota House Fails to Override Gov.'s Veto on 'Bathroom Bill'

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard

Conservative lawmakers in the South Dakota House of Representatives today failed to override the Republican governor’s veto of an anti-trans bill that sought to restrict the bathrooms and locker rooms available to transgender students. 

The first item on the House’s agenda this afternoon was a floor discussion of an attempt to override Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s Tuesday veto of House Bill 1008, reports the Associated Press.

Although the key sponsor of the legislation had said Tuesday that he would not seek a veto override, the issue nonetheless appeared on the House calendar to be discussed during the floor session beginning at 1 p.m., according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Republican Rep. Fred Deutsch, asked his colleagues to concur with the governor’s veto and let the bill “die a dignified death in this chamber,” reports Argus Leader journalist Dana Ferguson. 

After a 20-minute discussion on the House floor, the bill failed to reach the two-thirds vote threshold required to overturn the governor's veto and send the bill to the state Senate for reconsideration. Ultimately 38 lawmakers voted to override the veto, while 29 voted to concur, Ferguson reports. Overturning the veto would have required at least 47 votes. 

Ferguson catalogued the lawmakers' comments during the veto debate, highlighting the transphobic rhetoric that helped the bill soar through the House by a vote of 58-10 on its initial passage earlier this year. 

Gov. Daugaard “said he hopes lawmakers will see the possible ramifications for school districts,” and opt not to override his veto, tweeted Ferguson before the bill was debated. She also noted that the bill’s key Republican sponsor had not indicated whether he supported the effort to seek an override.

"The legislation puts our school districts in the position of having to comply with a state law that then invites litigation from the federal government," Daugaard told the Leader. "And why do we want to put our school districts in that position?"

Chase Strangio, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union's LGBT and HIV project, posted a call to action on his Facebook Thursday morning, urging trans-supportive South Dakota residents to contact their local legislators and urge them to abandon the veto override effort. 

If anyone has connections to South Dakota please urge immediate action. The House and Senate are attempting to override...

Posted by Chase Strangio on Thursday, March 3, 2016

 

The measure would have been the first law of its kind in the nation requiring trans young people to use the facilities designated for the gender they were assigned at birth, not the ones matching their gender identity. LGBT groups, businesses, and child advocacy organizations had all called on Daugaard to veto the bill, which they deemed stigmatizing and dangerous to transgender youth, in addition to being unnecessary.

When he vetoed the legislation on Tuesday, Daugaard said the bill “does not address any pressing issue,” insisting that such decisions were best left to local school officials. He also pointed to warnings from the American Civil Liberties Union that cautioned the sweeping law would prompt legal action, as it would require South Dakota schools to violate existing protections for transgender students. Under President Obama, the federal government, including the Department of Education and the Department of Justice, have repeatedly affirmed that transgender students are protected by the prohibition on discrimination based on sex as outlined in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

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