SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — HB 1217, which will prohibit transgender girls from participating on female high school sports teams, is on its way to the Governor’s office, where Governor Noem has signaled she will sign it into law.
The bill, originally killed in committee before being revived via a ‘smoke out’, sparked protests in support of transgender rights in seven South Dakota cities in late February.
Dan Swartos, Executive Director of the South Dakota High School Activities Association, was one of the people who provided opposition testimony when the bill was heard in committee. According to Swartos, the bill is unnecessary.
“We’ve had a policy since 2013.” says Swartos, “It’s worked rather well. We’ve had one student participate as a transgender female in the history of our policy, we have none right now. Our policy, as is, is supported overwhelmingly by our association, so our opposition was that we have a policy in place, and that policy is working.”
Swartos says the current process is a waiver process which involves documentation by schools that verify that a student’s transition is not being done to gain a competitive advantage. This entails verifications of accommodations made for the student, as well as testimony from the student’s physicians, family and friends that verifies that they are working to transition.
Swartos also says that the association has not seen incidents in South Dakota of students attempting to transition for the purpose of gaining a competitive advantage.
In a statement issued after the South Dakota Senate passed the bill, the ACLU also voiced their opposition:
“The vote opens the state up to costly litigation as the bill moves to Gov. Kristi Noem’s desk for her signature.“
“It attempts to solve a problem that does not exist and violates the United States Constitution and federal civil rights laws.“ACLU South Dakota
This bill is the latest in a series that have been introduced which seek to target the LGBTQ community in South Dakota.