Bill faces tough criticism ahead of House introduction

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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - As the 2020 Legislative Session moves into full stride, bills are already being introduced with the hopes of becoming law. Representative Fred Deutsch introduced one such bill that recently passed the House State Affairs Committee with an 8-5 vote--House Bill 1057. The Bill would criminalize gender reassignment procedures on minors if passed.

It has gained national attention as a few other states have introduced a bill with similar language. There has been pushback in South Dakota from constituents and organizations like the ACLU of South Dakota. Staff say it is unconstitutional to single out one group of people and categorically ban all care no matter how medically necessary.

"We're opposing this bill because our trans youth need to be protected from legislation and laws that are undermining their health care and denying them access to joy, protection, and freedom," said Indigenous Justice Organizer Candi Brings Plenty.

Legislators on both sides of the aisle have expressed concern as well.

Representative Kelly Sullivan has fielded messages from parents and trans youth that feel targeted. She and the Democratic leadership in the House plan to vote against the bill, but she also indicated there are Republican colleagues that will likely do the same.

"I hope that we will have some common sense in the House Chamber when we vote on this," Sullivan said. "It is a solution in search of a problem that does not exist in our state."

The bill will be introduced on the House floor on Monday.