Big Republican Government LGBT

Governor Daugaard Vetoes the Transphobic Bathroom Bill

Good news -- South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (R) has vetoed HB1008, the bill approved by the state legislature last week which would criminalize transgender bathroom use.

The governor's statement was very carefully worded and did not weigh in on the social politics or morality of policing gender identity. Instead, the governor described the legislation as governmental overreach and noted that it would open up the state to numerous lawsuits.

You can read the governor's full statement here.

This bill seeks to impose statewide standards on “every restroom, locker room, and shower room located in a public elementary or secondary school.” 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. [...]

Preserving local control is particularly important because this bill would place every school district in the difficult position of following state law while knowing it openly invites federal litigation. Although there have been promises by an outside entity to provide legal defense to a school district, this provision is not memorialized in the bill. Nor would such defense eliminate the need for school or state legal counsel, nor avoid expenses relating to expert witnesses, depositions and travel, or other defense costs. Nor does the commitment extend to coverage over settlement or damage expenses. This law will create a certain liability for school districts and the state in an area where no such liability exists today.

It's not a total repudiation and it leaves the door open for another bill that accounts for the governor's objections, but I suppose it's the best we can expect from a Republican governor.

It's unfortunate no other Republicans objected to this big government overreach before it reached the governor's desk.

  • muselet

    If one is feeling generous, Dennis Daugaard’s veto message is a reality check for the legislature: if a bill like this becomes law, it will cost us a fortune in federal and private lawsuits, so let’s drop it.

    If one is not feeling generous, the veto message is an invitation for the legislature to do better next time: dot some more is and cross some more ts, and I’ll reconsider.

    Me, I’m feeling sorta generous, so for the moment, one cheer for Daugaard. It’s what he does next time—and there will be a next time—that counts.


    • Aynwrong

      “—and there will be a next time—”

      The last few years have made aware of something that I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit I hadn’t fully realized before. The durability, resilience and currency that blatant bigotry still maintains in our political system and by virtue of that, American society. As much as I’m grateful that I woke up to this, it’s worn me down and left me feeling jaded.

      I do on the other hand take comfort in the knowledge that it has been defeated before. However slowly.

      At least that’s what I tell myself.

      • muselet

        Some people need a vulnerable population to bully so they can feel not-so-powerless.

        Half a century ago, it was blacks; society’s attitude changed and blacks weren’t an acceptable target any longer. Thirty years ago, it was gays and lesbians; society’s attitude has changed in the past five to ten years. Right now, the bullies are targeting transgender people. When society moves on yet again, the bullies will go after gingers or people with heterochromia or people with some other harmless characteristic.

        Which sounds disheartening, but it’s actually a hopeful sign: eventually, the bigots will run out of differences that can even semi-plausibly be spun as scary.

        That moment won’t usher in a Utopian age, but it will mean bills like this one will no longer go on legislative calendars.

        Progress is made one small step at a time. Hang in there.


        • Aynwrong

          Appreciate the hopeful words. Sorry about the ramble. I guess I just needed to get that off my chest.


  • Aynwrong

    I’m glad this sickening law was prevented but it would have been so refreshing to have seen a Republican oppose this law on the grounds of basic human decency.

    It’s a sign of the times when hoping for a defense of decency from one of our two major political parties is wishful thinking.

    And it’s a very ugly sign.

  • Username1016

    Yeah. It reads like the opinion of a conservative who is not actually a butthead. A vanishing breed.

  • chris ellis

    Common sense prevails, for the meantime.

    • Badgerite

      It is common sense, isn’t it. And coming from a GOP Governor. How refreshing. And unusual.