Press "Enter" to skip to content

Soholt, Solano Urge SDHSAA to Review and Maybe Rescind Transgender Policy

Senator Deb Soholt and Senator Alan Solano: transgender friends or foes?
Senator Deb Soholt and Senator Alan Solano: Transgender friends or foes?

Decent citizens beat back the bullying and harassment some of our regressive legislators and lobbyists dished out to transgender students during the 2015 Session. But some legislators who helped beat back the bills seeking to repeal the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s year-old transgender policy have apparently been pushing the SDHSAA to review and rescind that policy.

The SDHSAA Board of Directors meeting agenda for this Tuesday and Wednesday includes a review of the transgender policy (listed as Item 8 on the main agenda but headed as Item 9 later in the packet). SDHSAA posts this information in the agenda:

SUMMARY STATEMENT: SDHSAA Board of Directors members Rick Weber, Dr. Jason Uttermark, and Steve Morford, along with Senators Soholt of Sioux Falls and Solano of Rapid City, met with ASBSD Executive Director, Dr. Wade Pogany, Mr. Rob Monson, Executive Director or the SASD, SDHSAA Legal Counsel, Ms. Lindsey Riter-Rapp, and Mr. Gerry Kaufman, Legal Counsel for ASBSD.

The message that was sent to those in attendance by Senators Soholt and Solano was to review, and possibly rescind, the current transgender policy that was adopted by the Board of Directors on June 11, 2014. Dr. Pogany and Mr. Monson were to meet with their respective groups, ASBSD and SASD, and report back with their findings.

Dr. Pogany has set a work session for Friday, May 15, 2015, in his office at 9:00 a.m.

STAFF RECOMMENDATION: As the member schools were supportive throughout the legislative session through their respective lobbyists, I feel it would be premature to take any action, other than discussion/review of the current policy, at this time. It may be in the best interests of the Association to give the SASD/SDSSA the opportunity to survey their membership and legal counsel as to determine whether it would be preferable for each individual school district to have its own policy at the local level, or whether the SDHSAA should have one policy that would govern all school districts to determine the eligibility of transgender students in SDHSAA activities? [SDHSAA, Board of Directors April 21–22 2015 meeting agenda, Item #9, p. 58, downloaded 2015.04.19]

Senators Deb Soholt (R-14/Sioux Falls) and Alan Solano (R-32/Rapid City) voted to kill two of the anti-transgender bills, HB 1161 and HB 1195, in the Senate Education Committee during the first week of March. But apparently since then, Senators Soholt and Solano have told the SDHSAA to consider undoing that policy themselves. These two senators may have resisted having the shame of discriminating against transgender kids on their voting records, but they appear not to mind encouraging the SDHSAA to do that dirty deed for them.

I am relieved to see that SDHSAA is not leaping to act in that direction, noting that its membership supports this inclusive policy. I will be curious to see what further surveys of the school districts say about the merits of the transgender participation policy, not to mention what paranoia groups like Concerned Women for America may try to stir up in the school districts to sway any such surveys.


  1. Lynn 2015-04-19 12:41

    Oh dear! Another round of sensationalism and stoking fears over another issue brought on by the God Squad that has little to do with reality.

  2. MOSES 2015-04-19 15:21

    C.H. she is to represent us in district 14 she is nothing but a mouth piece for Do nothing in the Govs office. you would think she would be a speaker for education not.

  3. grudznick 2015-04-19 19:37

    Young Ms. Soholt seems wiser than her years. I am glad she is leading causes like this. The other fellow, Mr. Solano, he has an (R) behind his name but he leads some pretty liberal causes here in Rapid City.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-19 20:05

    My problem here is that Soholt and Solano seem to be sending opposite signals, voting against anti-transgender legislation but pushing the anti-transgender agenda in conversation with SDHSAA. Which side are they on?

  5. Donald Pay 2015-04-19 20:21

    I’m sure this is a CYA operation for the Legislators. The CWA is like ISIS: they won’t give up until they’ve taken the country back to the Middle Ages. They probably threatened beheading if these legislators didn’t genuflect on this. I’m sure they’ve cranked up the church ladies all over the state to make a push to overturn or weaken the policy. Better be prepared to fight.

  6. grudznick 2015-04-19 20:28

    Mr. Pay, you don’t think it’s part of the scheme to put a secret nuclear waste dump in Fall River County like I do? I think this is a head-fake about transgendered people. How many kids are there that are transgendered vs. how many people would profit vastly from the secret nuclear waste dump?

  7. Donald Pay 2015-04-19 20:48

    Grudz, I recall that CWA never took an official position on the nuclear waste dump, but they were allies of some allies on that issue back in the 80s, so we did share some information from time to time. I have respect for their tenacity on the issues they care about, even though I disagree with them.

  8. Curt 2015-04-19 20:52

    ‘grudznick’ – I’m wondering what the ‘liberal causes’ are Sen Solano has been leading. Please explain.

  9. larry kurtz 2015-04-19 21:02

    Cory’s obsession with sexual issues is more than a bit troubling even reminiscent of the Brookings-based blog’s drone over corndogs: most fascinating.

  10. grudznick 2015-04-19 21:53

    Mr. Curt, I believe that Mr. Solano leads a liberal self-help group that takes millions in state taxpayer funding.

    Lar, you have to admit that young Ms. Soholt makes a fellow think a bit.

  11. MJL 2015-04-20 07:59

    I think I can spin this for the two. They can claim that they don’t believe that it is the legislative bodies job to tell the SDHSAA what to do, but instead think it was wrong and can only urge them to see their “mistake.” I think that the SDHSAA will continue the policy (which is the correct and moral thing to do) as they are afraid of getting sued.

  12. Nick Nemec 2015-04-20 09:17

    Rep. Soholt makes a fellow think a bit. What are you talking about grudz? Think about what?

  13. CLCJM 2015-04-22 23:30

    Heard today that the state did an audit of the SDHSAA and thought a couple of things were questionable. Hmmm, wonder why they would be getting audited just now???

    And yet they can’t do a real investigation of EB5! Oh but wait, I just read in the Argus that Bollen might have to pay banking taxes on the money he loaned to other people that came from EB5. But no one will admit that he’s being investigated for that because he’s a tax payer and his privacy is protected. But if he didn’t pay taxes why should his privacy be protected? Interesting, huh, Cory???

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-23 06:18

    CLCJM, don’t fly the retribution flag yet. The SDHSAA Board of Directors webpage offers audit reports for the last seven years. They appear to get their finances reviewed annually. This audit is not an unusual occurrence.

    I get the distinct impression that people (legislators, the press, folks buying tickets to state tournaments) like to beat up on SDHSAA. They are an easy target, much like teachers, administrators, and schools in general.

    SDHSAA is a quasi-public entity created by state law, governed mostly by our public school districts, and directly serving the educational interests of our kids. They do not enjoy the same privacy protections as private citizens. However, to pursue your comparison, Joop Bollen was a state employee. His access to the funds he loaned (without a license, without paying bank franchise tax) depended on a state contract and a federal program. Back when he used to talk to the press (and when the courts forced him to talk), Bollen justified his activities as serving South Dakota’s public interest in economic development. Bollen’s activities were at least as public as SDHSAA’s; his activities deserve at least as much scrutiny.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.