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Transgender Bathroom Bill Up For Vote In 2018 If Legislature Fails To Pass One, Supporter Says

A sponsor of the transgender bathroom ballot measure says he’s bringing the issue to voters statewide after the legislature failed to pass a similar bill.

Jack Heyd says the voting public should have a say in 2018 if lawmakers again fail to pass a measure in the coming session.

A Box Elder resident, Heyd is behind a ballot measure that requires public school students to use rooms designated for the same biological sex. That means bathrooms, locker rooms and the like.

Heyd is chairman of the Committee to Ensure Student Privacy. The ballot measure’s language closely mirrors the 2016 House Bill, which Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed. Heyd says Daugaard dropped the ball on the measure…

“I want to try and get it in front of the people and let them decide, but I’m not trying to take the job of the legislature because they certainly have ample opportunity yet to go ahead and try to do something that will protect the safety and the privacy of the children of South Dakota.”

Heyd says he fears people going into restrooms for "nefarious" reasons. However, he says he’s unaware of any incidents where that’s happened in South Dakota. Heyd says this measure will set policy for school districts.

“Basically setting up this framework is a way to present guideline. That this—if somebody has an issue we can address it. If there is never an issue—if nothing comes up—then nothing will ever have to change. No accommodations will have to be made. It’ll just stay the way it is right now.”

Critics of the measure include the American Civil Liberties Union. Libby Skarin is the policy director for the ACLU of South Dakota. Skarin says it’s shameful to put the rights of transgender students up for a public vote.

If supporters gather almost 14,000 validated signatures from registered voters by November 2017, it would be placed on the ballot for the 2018 election.


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