Two K-12 related bills met their ends on Thursday (3/12) after legislative conference committees failed to concur on compromises.
House members voted 49-17 to ultimately defeat a bill calling for the repeal of the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s policy on transgender student participation in sports.
Rep. Jim Bolin, who was a lead opponent of the SDHSAA policy, said it was time to end “the battle” over the policy just days after he successfully resurrected the proposed repeal in the form of a hoghouse amendment on Senate Bill 140.
House members voted to pass SB 140 on Tuesday (3/10) 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 its final point.
Initially, HB 1195 passed the House, then was deferred to the 41st legislative day by the Senate Education committee, followed by a successful smoke out on the Senate floor, then defeated in the Senate, revived in the form of SB 140 and, finally, not concurred upon by the conference committee.
Rep. Bolin’s argument centered around the belief that the Activities Association policy oversteped 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.
Opponents of the bills said the SDHSAA thoroughly vetted the policy before adoption and were being proactive in their response to an issue that has arisen in states around the U.S.
ASBSD opposed the bills.
During the Senate Education committee hearing of HB 1195, ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said school boards were concerned HB 1195 could put them 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.”
As noted by Pogany during the Senate Ed. hearing, ASBSD is 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.
The end also came for a bill that would have aided the development of online educational resources.
After a hoghouse amendment was introduced and passed by House members on Senate Bill 176, which originally appropriated funds for the development of online resources and a rubric of textbook analysis for use in school districts, a conference committee reviewed the bill’s new form. ASBSD supported SB 176 in its original form.
Conference committee members were unable to concur on a compromise and Senators voted 33-0 to ultimately defeat the bill.