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January24

Senate comm. sends SDHSAA policy repeal to 41st day

Legislative committee members brought down a bill that could have put schools in line to face litigation.

 

On a 5-2 vote, the Senate Education committee defeated Senate Bill 49, which voided the SDHSAA policy on transgender student participation and requires student gender be determined by what is stated on the student’s birth certificate.

 

ASBSD opposed the bill. The Association’s legislative resolution B8. Legal and Financial Protection for Compliance with State Law calls for a provision in law that would require the S.D. Attorney General’s office to represent a public school district, should it face a lawsuit while complying with the state law, and indemnify the public school district for any financial liability incurred by the district rising out of the lawsuit, which was not included in SB 49.

 

“The system works,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany testified, adding that the current SDHSAA policy does not put schools in the path of a legal challenge.

 

“Passing (Senate Bill) 49 will lead us down a course of litigation that we don’t want to go down.”

 

Sen. Jim Bolin, the prime sponsor of the bill, noted it was “not an outright attack” on the SDHSAA policy, but rather about fairness in competition. He added that “schools have asked for a policy.”

 

SDHSAA Executive Director Dan Swartos said “the original policy was considered for over year” before being passed by SDHSAA board in 2014 “at the request of our (SDHSAA) member schools.”

 

“Our job…is to serve all kids in our schools,” Swartos testified.

 

Sen. Al Solano, Senate Education committee chair, cited the lack of unfairness in competition as his reason for opposing the bill.

 

“I don’t think we’ve shown that we’ve had the issue of unfair competition,” Sen. Solano said. “We don’t have a need to act on this legislation.”

 

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