South Dakota Governor Vetoes Bill Restricting Transgender Student Bathroom Access

Republican South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have prohibited transgender students from using bathrooms based on the sex with which they identify.  In a statement, Daugaard said, “Instead of encouraging local solutions, this bill broadly regulates in a manner that invites conflict and litigation, diverting energy and resources from the education of the children of this state.

The measure would have been the first in the nation to restrict transgender students’ access to school restrooms and locker rooms. Daugaard said that the bill would have introduced a new statewide mandate that “does not address any pressing issue concerning the school districts of South Dakota”. In his message to legislators, Daugaard stressed “that local school districts should be able to decide how to handle questions about bathroom use without interference from the state or federal government.”

State GOP Rep. Fred Deutsch, who introduced the bill said he would not seek an override.

Gov. Daugaard’s reasoning for vetoing the bill aligns closely with the WASB’s rationale for opposing Assembly Bill 469; a similar proposal that would have affected Wisconsin school districts.  AB 469 also included provisions that would have explicitly allowed parents/guardians and students to sue school districts to enforce compliance with its directive, and would have explicitly allowed suits for money damages and attorneys’ fees.

Read More: New York Times; Fox News (AP)Reuters; Washington PostArgus Leader (South Dakota)