Equality South Dakota          
Standing up for equality!
Dear Friend Of Equality,

Here's the update on the Legislature. More good news.

HB 1008 Veto

The Governor did the right thing under tremendous pressure from our community in South Dakota and our community around the Nation when he vetoed HB 1008 on Tuesday.  HB 1008 was a direct attack on the transgender community labeled as a "compromise" position.  The true nature of the bill became clear when legislators were confronted with the true nature of the bill by questions at legislative coffees and cracker barrel meetings across the state.  National organizations put a lot of resources and efforts into this, but our grass-roots organizations and individual South Dakotans made a huge difference.  We changed the narrative, and we did it together. 

The Governor's veto statement was right on: 

House Bill 1008 does not address any pressing issue concerning the school districts of South Dakota.  It 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.  This law will create a certain liability for school districts and the state in an area where no such liability exists today.

Please send a heart-felt thank you message to Governor Daugaard.

HB 1008 Veto sustained
The House (on March 3) voted to uphold the veto thereby killing HB 1008 for good.  Rep. Fred Deutsch, the bill's sponsor stated that he would encourage the House to concur with the veto.  Rep. Deutsch told Equality South Dakota in an e-mail before the veto vote that he "received a handful of e-mail like yours [advocating to uphold the veto] and well over a hundred asking me to over-ride the veto.  These have all come from South Dakotans....The other reality is we don't have sufficient votes in the Senate to over-ride the Governor's veto."  During debate on the House floor, Rep. Deutsch stated that he will bring a revised better bill back next year.  A two-thirds vote of each chamber is needed to over-ride a veto.  The Senate would have needed 23 votes to over-ride while other 20 Senators had originally voted to pass HB 1008.  The House needed 47 votes to over-ride.  Only 36 voted to do so while 29 voted against.  58 House members originally voted to pass HB 1008.  These representatives switched from originally voting aye on HB 1008 to now voting nay:  Deutsch, Dryden, Duvall, Jeanne Hunhoff, Alex Jensen, Mickelson, Partridge, Kent Peterson, Rasmussen, Ring, Romkema, Schoenfish, Sly, Solum, Stevens, Westra, Wink, Wollman and Zikmund.

HB 1008 was stopped by many

We greatly appreciate everyone for contacting the Governor.  Over 80,000 petition signatures were collected by the ACLU and Human Rights Campaign and delivered to the Governor.  The Center for Equality organized a successful Trans Students Visibility Day at the Capitol on February 23. Businesses in Sioux Falls also came on board in calling for a veto.

Black Hills Equality Coalition Feb 28 Rally:
"Education, Not Legislation"
Photo: Kim Lathe 

HB 1112 killed 

The Senate Education Committee killed HB 1112 on March 3.  This bill would have rescinded the perfectly good transgender policy of the SD High School Activities Association.  The committee voted by 5-2 to kill HB 1112.  Those voting aye were Senators Curd (a co-sponsor), Frerichs, Bernie Hunhoff, Solano and Soholt with Senators Brock Greenfield and Rampelberg voting nay. Although it was defeated in committee, we are watching because it could be "smoked out" (brought to the Senate floor by a floor vote) on Monday.  There also is a possibility the language of HB 1112 may be amended into another bill ("hog-housed") next week.  This was done last year after the Senate had originally killed a similar bill, although it was then defeated on the floor.  

Terri Bruce of Hermosa (a trans man) testified against HB 1112.  Sen. Bernie Hunhoff praised Bruce for being courageous to come forth and testify and referred to him as "the Jackie Robinson of today."  Also testifying against HB 1112 were Libby Skarin, lobbyist for ACLU-SD; Lindsey Riter-Rapp, SDHSAA; Wade Pogany, Associated School Boards of SD; and Rob Monson, SD Association of School Districts.   Testifying for HB 1112 were Sen. Van Gerpen and Rep. Roger Hunt, bill sponsors; Linda Schauer, Concerned Women for America; Dale Bartscher, Family Heritage Alliance; and Travis Benson, Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls.

It's not over til its over, so stay tuned and think equal! (The Legislative session ends on March 31.)


Lawrence Novotny
Equality South Dakota

The mission of Equality South Dakota is to secure and protect the rights and well being of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) South Dakotans and their families through full engagement in the political process.  We seek dialogue with elected officials and invite them to use us as a resource in their decision making.  In doing so, we give a voice to families that have been silent and fearful.