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.