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South Dakota State Legislature set to debate a number of transgender issues in 2022

State lawmakers are set to debate a number of bills dealing with transgender issues in the 2022 legislative session, one of which is almost an exact copy of a bill from the 2021 session.
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 10:26 PM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota state lawmakers are poised to take up a number of bills related to transgender issues in the 2022 legislative session.

According the South Dakota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), it will be the 29th bill regarding LGBT rights that they have taken up since 2014.

“They have all dealt with discriminatory action against LGBTQ+ people,” said SD ACLU Communications Director Janna Farley. “It is a wide swath of bills that we have been talking about and debating constantly, year after year.”

One of those bills, HB 1006, is another “transgender sports bill,” similar to the one that Governor Kristi Noem vetoed last legislative session. It would ban transgender girls from partaking in girls sports in South Dakota, at both the high school and college level.

Representative Fred Deutsch (R-Florence), a co-sponsor of HB 1006, has had a hand in crafting similar pieces of legislation over the course of his career. He says that recent national occurrences helped bring this bill back.

“I think this is a hugely important bill,” said Deutsch. “Every one in the country is likely familiar with the story coming out of Pennsylvania of the swimmer who competed as a male, and is now competing as a female and is blowing people away.”

Deutsch is the prime sponsor of HB 1005, a bill that will allow students to pursue legal action against their school districts if they encounter a member of the opposite sex in “a multi-occupancy shower room, changing room, or restroom.”

“It is a huge issue for fairness for our South Dakota girls, and I hope that we get them both signed into law,” Deutsch said.

For organizations like the ACLU, they say these types of bills always tend to be solutions looking for problems.

“It is really not going to effect a large number of people,” Farley explained. “That does not mean we should pass them, to let people make a point by trying to codify discrimination like this.”

Governor Kristi Noem has already indicated that she intends to bring her own transgender sports bill this session, but her office clarified that she intends to bring her own that is different from HB 1006. Noem’s office has not weighed in on HB 1005.

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