The 2015 South Dakota Legislative session has ended.
The four bills that were attacks on LGBT were all successfully defeated this legislative session. These bills were ugly, they can even be described as mean. But they were defeated. Even though Rep. Bolin and Sen. Greenfield and their allies were determined to get HB 1195 passed, they failed. For a detailed report on the political maneuvering see the EqSD Blog post: Death of Transgender Bills.
Equality South Dakota wants to thank everyone who contacted their legislators. Your support was crucial.
Equality South Dakota greatly acknowledges the ACLU of South Dakota for their guidance and assistance in the defeat of these bills.
It was unfortunate that these bills made it to floor votes, but since they did, we finally have a voting record of each legislator on a transgender bill. For the past seven years, bills were always killed in committee so we only knew the position of that committee member. This year the transgender bills had floor votes whereby each legislator had to take a position on the bills.
EqSD has compiled these votes and will be using this information in the future. We have posted them online for you here:
EqSD announced on March 5 that the Senate Education Committee had killed both transgender bills. However, with the SD Legislature, nothing is final until the final gavel on the final day. This was the case with HB 1195 which would have rescinded the transgender policy of the SD High School Activities Association.
On March 9, Senator Greenfield (R-Clark) requested a smoke-out of HB 1195. A smoke-out is a parliamentary move whereby the Senate requires a committee to deliver a killed bill to the Senate floor. That afternoon the Senate Education Committee delivered HB 1195 with a do not pass recommendation. The next day, the Senate had to vote whether or not to place HB 1195 on their calendar. This motion failed by 3 votes (16-19) thereby killing HB 1195 again.
However, Rep Jim Bolin (R-Canton), the prime sponsor of HB 1195, was not pleased that the Senate had finally killed his pet bill. So he conducted a “hoghouse” parliamentary maneuver in the House. Rep. Bolin took SB 140, a place-holder bill dealing with education, that the House had not acted on yet, and struck out the original language of SB 140 and replaced the language with that of HB 1195. The House then passed the amended SB 140 by a vote of 45-23-2.
Since this SB 140 was now amended, it had to go back to the Senate for approval. The Senate refused to accept the amended version by 16-18-1 (by 2 votes).
The Senate’s refusal required the convening of a conference committee to resolve the issue between the House and the Senate. The conference committee consisted of 6 people -- 3 from the House and 3 from the Senate. The House members were Rep. Bolin (the prime sponsor of HB 1195), Rep. Steven Haugaard (R-Sioux Falls) and Rep. Karen Soli (D-Sioux Falls). The Senate members were Sen. Troy Heinert (D-Mission), Sen. Jim White (R-Huron) and Sen. Phil Jensen (R-Rapid City – yes, that Phil Jensen, the anti-LGBT senator). The conference committee deadlocked on several motions with Sen. White and the two Democrats opposing the three conservative Republicans. The committee finally concluded that there was no compromise and declared SB 140 dead bringing an end to all of the political maneuvering. The rights of transgender students survived this legislative session.
Both anti-transgender bills in the 2015 Legislative Session have been killed. The Senate Education Committee killed HB 1195 on Tuesday and followed suit with killing of HB 1161 on Thursday, March 6, 2015. HB 1161 would have prohibited the SD High School Activities Association from establishing policy relating to sexuality or gender identity, other than the basic distinction between male and female high school activities.
HB 1161 was killed by a vote of 5-2. We had 1 more Republican senator voting to kill HB 1161 than voted to kill HB 1195
Those voting against (defer to 41st day, "kill") HB 1161 were:
Those voting for HB 1161 were:
Proponents testifying for HB 1161 were:
Opponents testifying against HB 1161 were:
HB 1220 was heard and killed in House State Affairs Committee on February 24 by a vote of 10-3.
EqSD strongly opposed this bill, which would have allowed an individual to discriminate based upon their religious belief.
You read the minutes listen to committee testimony and action online:
Those testifying in support of HB 1220 were:
A class from Sunshine Bible Academy was present during the hearing on Friday.
Rep. Craig was asked by a committee member for examples of how this bill would benefit citizens today if it passed. Craig could not cite any such examples.
Those testifying against HB 1220 were:
Pardy stated this bill would put a significant burden on state and local governments to defend themselves against claims of religious infringement at the expense of taxpayers.
Shekleton stated this bill does not address any existing problem in SD.
Both Pardy and Shekleton cited examples of how HB 1220 would create problems for jails and schools.
Rep. Stevens explained his motion to defer HB 1220 to the 41st legislative day by which the bill is killed:
Voting to pass HB 1220 were:
Voting to kill HB 1220 were:
Equality South Dakota and many of our allies strongly opposed this bill, and, in coordination with others, encouraged our members to track it through our Facebook group.
Equality South Dakota did not testify on HB 1220 since the way it was written the bill did not directly address LGBT issues. It was felt if EqSD would testify, this would bring attention that this is a LGBT related bill and thereby hinder the possibility of killing it.
The South Dakota Democratic Party conducted an online petition when HB 1220 was introduced. The petition garnered around 3000 signers. The petition was not released to the legislators because we did not want to give the impression that the defeat of HB 1220 would then be viewed as being a partisan issue.
An unrelated item is HB 1211 which would have repealed the requirement for a marriage license and provided instead for a marriage certificate. This bill was read in the House, and was killed in House Local Government by a vote of 8-5. We do not know what the intent of this bill was. EqSD did not take any position on this bill since we found out about it too late.
Thanks to everyone who contacted their legislators regarding HB 1220 and spread the word to others.