ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany is fond of saying a bill’s never dead until session is done.
That sentiment never rang more true than in the case of a proposed bill calling for the repeal of the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s policy on transgender student participation in sports.
House members approved a hoghouse amendment on Senate Bill 140, previously a vehicle bill, mere hours after the Senate defeated House Bill 1195, which had the same focus as the newly amended SB 140.
The controversial topic has had a winding road to get to this point with HB 1195 passing the house, being deferred to the 41st legislative day by the Senate Education committee, successfully smoked out on the Senate floor, but meeting its demise today in the Senate.
SB 140 passed the House on 45-23 vote and now moves to the Senate for review and seems likely to be headed towards a legislative conference committee hearing, which is a review of a bill by a group of Senators and Representatives who attempt to come to compromise.
Rep. Jim Bolin again lead the charge against the SDHSAA policy.
Rep. Bolin stated the merit of the bill’s premise – that the Activities Association policy oversteps its governing bounds by superseding a student’s birth certificate, on which the gender they were born is listed, in favor of allowing the student to identify with the opposite gender – has not been challenged.
House members opposing of the bill said the SDHSAA thoroughly vetted the policy before adoption and the premise of the bill had run its legislative course.
“We need to respect the process we have in place with our legislature,” Rep. Jacqueline Sly said.
Rep. Roger Hunt said the SDHSAA policy represents a takeover of the sovereignty of the legislative body.
“That this legislative body doesn’t get to review (the policy) prior to implementation…there’s something wrong,” Rep. Hunt said. “We are in control of education.”
ASBSD opposes the bill and during the Senate Education committee hearing for HB 1195 Pogany said school boards were concerned the premise could put school boards in a precarious spot.
“It’s a sensitive issue. This issue will always fall back on the school boards,” Pogany said during the initial hearing. “We need to make sure we don’t set school boards up for failure.”
Pogany added ASBSD has been in the process of drawing up sample school board policy that boards could choose to adopt to help guide them in the process of accommodating a transgender student.
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