Voters in South Dakota may get the chance to decide the fate of transgender students as supporters try to get a bathroom measure on the 2018 ballot.
Attorney General Marty Jackley announced supporters of a transgender bathroom and locker room ban filed a petition to allow voters to decide on the issue in a filing on Tuesday. If the proposal receives enough support, South Dakota would become the first state to put the transgender restroom issue on the ballot.
For the measure to be added to the 2018 ballot, the group would require 13,871 signatures statewide by November of 2017. The proposal is an exact copy of 2016’s House Bill 1008 which was passed by state legislators but ultimately vetoed by Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard back in March. The state House failed in further efforts to garner enough support to override the veto.
Republican Jack Heyd of Box Elder is said to be the person behind the petition. Heyd claims the Governor’s veto along with the Obama administration’s Title IX guidance was his motivation for introducing the proposal, and he expects to get at least 28,000 signatures to add the measure. Heyd claims allowing transgender students to use the same facility as other students “opens privacy up beyond any reasonable measure.”
Lawmakers also expect a similar bill to be introduced again when the 2017 legislative session begins in January. Heyd claims if lawmakers are successful his work would be diminished, however his petition serves as a second option should they be unsuccessful. “If they can’t get the job done, then I’ll be ready,” Heyd told the Associated Press. Heather Smith the Executive Director of South Dakota’s ACLU said in a statement that putting the rights of transgender children up for a popular vote is another “shameful attempt” to put discrimination into state law. The organization is prepared to fight back against anti-transgender proposals.