The fourth and final anti-transgender bill introduced in South Dakota this current legislative session, HB 1225, was defeated ion Monday due to an evenly split final vote of 34-34. The bill had previously advanced to the vote after a committee had been deadlocked on the bill last week.
If it had become law, the bill would have rescinded a 2014 policy that was adopted by the South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA), which allows transgender students to participate on sports teams that reflect their gender identity rather than the sex listed on their birth certificate. It would have forced children who did not have an assigned sex listed on their birth certificate to undergo a physical examination. The SDHSAA here has been almost no complains since the policy had been implement and that it mirrors the policies of 24 other states.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had published as a full-page ad in the South Dakota Argus Leader that featured a petition signed by more over 200 athletes, coaches and administrators who supported the rights of transgender athletes to compete in school sports in accordance with their gender identity.
“All young people should have the opportunity to play high school sports and have their personal dignity respected. Transgender students are no different,” said Libby Skarin, policy director for the ACLU of South Dakota in a press release. “No one is harmed by allowing transgender people to compete consistent with who they are. We’re thrilled with the committee’s decision kill this bill, sending a clear message of inclusion and acceptance for our transgender friends and neighbors.”
A Senate version of the bill, SB 49, was struck down in January by a 5-2 vote.
Earlier this month, HB 1205, was defeated by a vote of 10-3. The bill would have allowed “gatekeeping” parents to prevent their children from receiving any transgender–related medical care or mental health counseling.
Last Friday, House Bill 1108, also known as the “Don’t Say Trans” bill, was deferred by the Senate State Affairs Committee by a vote of 7-2, thus killing the bill for the 2019 session. The legislation would have prevented K-7 public school teachers from teaching students about gender identity or gender expression.
Skarin says that this should be the end of the onslaught of anti-transgender bills introduced in South Dakota for 2019, but that she also expects them or similar versions to be introduced in future sessions.
“I feel pretty confident that this is the end of it for this legislative session, but if there’s one thing that we’ve learned, it’s that we can never assume we’ve defeated these bills for good,” Skarin said. “As long as these bills keep coming up, we’re going to keep fighting.”