Senate Education tried to redeem the Legislature; Senator Brock Greenfield has sullied it.
Last week, Senate Education killed the two bills that targeted South Dakota’s transgender students for more oppression by repealing the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s well-thought-out and far from casual transgender participation policy (see SDHSAA Handbook, pp. 7–9). Yesterday, Senator Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark) rose for what he said was only his second smokeout in fifteen years and demanded that Senate Ed deliver House Bill 1195, the more odious of the two bills, to the Senate floor. The Legislature conducts smokeout votes by standing, not by roll call, so the Senate Journal does not show who supported this move. But Senator Greenfield got a third of his colleagues to stand up for picking on transgender students.
Senator Bill Van Gerpen (R-19/Tyndall) rose to support Senator Greenfield’s motion:
This issue is huge. It’s huge for our schools. It’s huge for our students. It’s huge for our parents from across South Dakota…. The committee was represented and the voices of their constituents may have been heard …there’s many other of us whose constituents are not being heard unless their voice is expressed through us on the Senate floor [Senator Bill Van Gerpen, remarks on smoking out HB 1195, South Dakota Senate, 2015.03.09, timestamp 15:08].
Senator Deb Soholt (R-14/Sioux Falls), who chaired Senate Education’s three and a half hours of testimony and discussion of HB 1195, said the committee had given the bill a thorough hearing. But alarmingly, she said the SDHSAA and the Associated School Boards “are willing to look for a new way over this next year.” What?! Don’t tell me all this paranoid, transophobic dissembling has coerced the SDHSAA into rethinking the step it took toward fairness for transgender students.
HB 1195 will clutter the Senate’s busy schedule this afternoon, on the last day that each chamber can consider bills from the other side of the Capitol. But Senator Greenfield has asked for it: hit the phones and e-mail of your Senators and your neighbors’ Senators, and tell them to kill House Bill 1195 and transgender students and the SDHSAA alone.