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Soholt Cowers Behind Smokeout Threat, Lets Anti-Trans Potty Bill Pass

No leadership allowed—Sen. Deb Soholt (R-14/Sioux Falls)
No leadership allowed—Sen. Deb Soholt (R-14/Sioux Falls)

The Lack of Legislative Leadership Award for the day goes to Senator Deb Soholt (R-14/Sioux Falls). As chair of Senate Education, she cast the deciding vote this morning to keep House Bill 1008, Rep. Fred Deutsch’s (R-4/Florence) paranoid potty bill, alive and on its way to a vote of the full Senate.

Prime sponsor Rep. Deutsch testified with more Newspeak. Senator Bernie Hunhoff (D-18/Yankton) responded with plain talk, suggesting that HB 1008 might be “good economic development” for the out-of-state lawyers promising to defend us from the lawsuits* HB 1008 will bring, then saying that “high school is hard enough” and that our kids need understanding and acceptance.

Chair Soholt then closed debate with some rambling talk that hinted at Senator Hunhoff’s humanitarianism. She patted everyone’s back for a polite, sensitive discussion of a complicated issue (i’m unconvinced Rep. Deutsch sounded all that sensitive). She acknowledged that the young people she’s heard from may be more evolved in discussing transgender issues than the grown-ups and that maybe the Legislature could find the right path by listening to those young voices.

But then Chair Soholt ran for cover. She said that if the committee were to kill HB 1008, its supporters would surely smoke it out to force a vote in the full Senate. She said the entire Senate wants to be part of the conversation. And when the clerk called the roll, Chair Soholt joined Republican Senators Greenfield, Rampelberg, and Solano in approving the Deutsch potty bill over the objection of Democratic Senators Frerichs and Hunhoff.

We don’t vote to have conversations. We vote to say policy is good or bad for South Dakota. HB 1008 is bad for South Dakota, for our state’s image, and for fairness and decency for South Dakota kids.

p.s.: Former Attorney General Roger Tellinghuisen gave great testimony against HB 1008. Responding to the House State Affairs amendment that struck the Attorney General’s obligation to defend schools sued for following this law on the promise of the Arizona-based Alliance for Defending Freedom to take any such cases pro bono, Tellinghuisen said such promises are non-binding and say nothing about whether ADF is willing to pay the damages school districts may take when they lose their lawsuits. Tellinghuisen said that if the state is going to use HB 1008 to force schools to violate federal law, the state should pony up the cash to pay the lawyer bills and the damages that will accrue. Rep. Deutsch dismissed Tellinghuisen’s studied legal advice by saying federal law isn’t really law.


  1. Eve Fisher 2016-02-11 12:49

    “Rep. Deutsch dismissed Tellinghuisen’s studied legal advice by saying federal law isn’t really law.” First off, we fought a civil war to prove that it is. Secondly, there will be lawsuits, and they may well bankrupt this state, just so that Rep. Deutsch can tell himself that he’s defending our youth from seeing the things he imagines are happening in bathrooms around the country…

  2. mike from iowa 2016-02-11 13:25

    Wingnuts. You can’t fix stoopid!

  3. mike from iowa 2016-02-11 13:55

    South Dakota has made the big time now. Wonkette is on wingnuts anti-gay cases as only Wonkette can.

  4. bearcreekbat 2016-02-11 14:56

    I just posted a comment on the DJ thread that really belongs here, so I will repost the relevant info just in case any of our legislators are reviewing this thread to help inform their questions, discussions and voting on the full Senate floor.

    One of the questions that will have to be addressed is how to assure that no non-transgender boy or girl claims to be transgender so they can go in the opposite sex bathroom. The bill might have to be amended to provide for:

    (a) Roger Hunt, et al, could stand by bathrooms and inspect the child’s genitalia before permitting entry into a bathroom – this could be done cheaply by using experienced inmates from Sioux Falls on work release, such as Ted Klaudt.

    (b) If actual genitalia inspection is deemed too intrusive, then the school could just hire someone to stand by the bathroom door and check the birth certificate of each and every student entering the bathroom.

    (c) This too could be problematic for kids who forget to bring their birth certificates, or have lost them, but really, really have to go potty. An alternative might be to require all transgender students to wear the infamous German “yellow badge” so everyone can clearly see which children should be discriminated against and bullied when they have to use a bathroom as well as at whatever other times during the school day that are appropriate for bullying and discrimination based on gender identity.

    One of these solutions will be needed to keep the non-trans kids from going into the opposite sex bathrooms. Indeed, even Presidential candidate Ted Cruz would seem to agree in principle given his campaign logo TRUS-TED, since the TRUS apparently stands for “transrectal ultrasound.”

  5. Bob Newland 2016-02-11 15:25

    Is this really a problem now? Are people allowed to transport their penises into womens’ restrooms now?

  6. mtr 2016-02-11 16:15

    I think Democrats would be wise to hang their hats on the “Attorney General doesn’t have to defend from lawsuit” part/ammendment to this bill. It shows an asumption that a) the law will go to court because, b) the law is unconstitutional. Imagine the laws that could be passed with this ammendment! Is the ammendment even legal/constitutional? Are there other laws with similar ammendments? Do the various abortion laws include this?

  7. mike from iowa 2016-02-11 16:41

    Aren’t most school janitors of the pee-pee tail persuasion and don’t they regularly go into bathrooms of either sex? Well I never!

  8. Bob Newland 2016-02-11 16:44

    Well, of course, Mike. But, my question was serious.

  9. Daniel Buresh 2016-02-11 16:46

    2nd time this week I am ashamed to be a South Dakotan.

  10. Roger Cornelius 2016-02-11 16:59

    Whatever is going on the minds of Hunt and Deutsch is truly scary, do they have vivid dreams of transgender kids.

    I simply do not accept that this a serious problem in the state and that kids, not adults, are fully capable of handling such a problem if it does exist.

  11. Eve Fisher 2016-02-11 17:10

    This is not a serious problem anywhere. Bathrooms have stalls with locks on them. Transgender kids aren’t in bathrooms to attack, assault, or come on to anyone – they’re there to poop or pee. And they’d really like to be left alone to do it. We are going to get so many lawsuits on this one….

  12. mike from iowa 2016-02-11 17:31

    Imagine how psychotic wingnuts would be if schools still had a one hole outhouse.

  13. Roger Elgersma 2016-02-11 17:35

    The boy I saw on TV telling the committee that it would be scary if he could not go to the other bathroom did not make sense. If he thinks it is scary to pee in a room with others with the same parts as he has, why would he not think it would be scary for the girls to pee in the same room as someone that has other parts than they do. Those girls would have a more different situation than he does. If he thinks some one should go into any bathroom they want, then why is he scared of the other bathroom? I think he is just scared that people that believe in morals might think he is a problem.
    I saw a TV interview of a number of people on the transgender issue. They had a little boy about six years old as their poster child of a child who wanted to be a different gender than his parts. Well first of all a six year old has not reached puberty and is not particularly sexual. He was a quite outgoing aggressive young person and his personality did not particularly match a girl from old stereotypes of what a girl is. But the defining moment came when his mother and father had a slight disagreement. Immediately the little boy said, ‘Mom is going to win, she rules and she always wins.’ The Dad had a rather startled look on his face. The little boy had a personality that he wanted to win and he had seen Mom win all the time so he wanted to be a Mom. This does not make him a girl in any sexuality sense at all. He just had a personality like his Mom so he related to her and wanted to mimic her. He was mimicking a person and a personality and not a gender.

  14. Mark Winegar 2016-02-11 18:04

    Perhaps the Republicans supporting this ridiculous bill will be willing to personally pay the expenses incurred by the upcoming lawsuits to follow their misguided votes?

  15. LK Burghardt 2016-02-11 18:12

    This is infuriating and embarrassing all at the same time! Just because your religious mind tells you that your perfect God would never create a human being with the wrong genitalia does NOT make it so! I’m pretty sure that there is SUPPOSED to be separation of church and state. I’m also pretty sure that the Holy Bible says that it’s a sin to judge. This is the most judgmental bill EVER. I hope God forgives you for your judgement. I also hope that all of you that voted for this would be blessed with a biology lesson. Things happen that you may not consider “normal”. That doesn’t mean that it was a choice. Where’s your compassion, understanding, intelligence to get this right????

  16. Bob Newland 2016-02-11 18:17

    Do schools currently allow students who claim to be a girl even though she has a penis to use the girls’ bathroom (or the converse of that scenario)?

  17. grudznick 2016-02-11 19:50

    Mr. bat: good points
    Bob: yes to 15:25. Breakfast tomorrow?
    Mr. C: vivider than you can imagine
    Mr. Burghardt: I urge you to not vote for any of the Greenfields or McCoys
    Bob, again: yes

  18. larry kurtz 2016-02-11 21:55

    Are all South Dakota chiropractors criminals and nutjobs or just the Republican, catholic ones? Scott Munsterman groped at least one teen, Fred Deutsch and Jeff Monroe want to end civil rights for over half the state’s population. These antics stigmatize yet another segment of South Dakota’s population deemed undesirable by the white, christianic ruling class. But laud Soholt and her nutball caucus for burning up the clock instead of holding some feet to the ethics fire and the culture of corruption in Pierre.

  19. larry kurtz 2016-02-11 21:59

    and cauterizing the culture of corruption in Pierre. stupid autogravimetrics.

  20. Bob Newland 2016-02-11 22:00

    Can’t anyone answer my question?

  21. Jay Reeve 2016-02-11 22:44

    When I was 5 years old, I had an argument with my best friend, Dwayne, about whether a girl could have a penis. Dwayne maintained she could, and even claimed he had seen a girl with one. Being all-knowing at that age, I told him that was crazy, that having one was what made someone a boy.

    In the 60 years since then, I’ve learned a few things, including the fact that occasionally a girl will have a penis, or a boy won’t. It’s unusual, but it happens, and the girls and boys it happens to tend to have a hard life, just because some other people are uncomfortable with anything that is different.

    Thank goodness we don’t elect 5-year-olds like me to the legislature. Or do we? I’m appalled to learn that we have legislators who think high school students need legislative help to single out these girls and boys as different, so they can be ridiculed, harassed, and ostracized more than they have been already.

    How is that girl in her pink dress and eye shadow, who has been hiding her secret in a stall in a girls’ bathroom, supposed to feel anything but exposed, vulnerable, and violated when she’s forced to walk into a boys’ bathroom for fear of contravening SD law? How are the other boys in there expected to react when a girl walks in on them—even if she has a penis (which she’s not about to show them)? If there isn’t adequate privacy, and a penis is actually glimpsed in the ladies’ room, that will simply help some students figure out, at a younger age than I did, that yes, sometimes a girl has a penis.

    However much 5-year-olds demand binary simplicity, life is far more complex and diverse. The legislation proposed in Pierre—by the same people who keep saying we have too much government—offers no protection from any real danger and no solution to any real problem. Its only purpose, like the old Jim Crow laws, is to keep the rest of us from being discomfited by those we have cast as Other. Nice as that might seem, the price paid by its victims is too high. Time to grow up and accept that life isn’t that simple.

  22. Madman 2016-02-11 22:52

    Bob the current way schools can handle this is up to them. They make the call on a local level.

  23. Mary, Quite Contrary 2016-02-12 04:53

    “Federal law isn’t really law.” I don’t think that is so. So one of us is living under a rock and, actually, I don’t think it is me. So here I am asking myself, how does someone like this end up in the legislature making laws for South Dakota?

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-12 07:45

    Mary, someone like Fred Deutsch ends up in the Legislature by sending out sensationalist and deceptive postcards about abortion toward the end of the campaign and making people think that issue is all that really matters in choosing a legislator. Blowing up this potty bill into a matter of life or death for civilization as we know it is another dog-whistle for the regressive religious fundamentalists whom Deutsch and friends are counting on to come out and vote in greater numbers than the frustrated and repulsed progressive thinkers in this state. Instead of turning our heads in disgust from the Legislature and retreating to other pursuits and other states, we need our sensible citizens to pour their energy into campaigning and voting this year. We need frustrated friends and relatives who have left our state and watch with dismay from afar to chip in and make calls on behalf of good progressive South Dakota candidates to unseat people like Deutsch and Omdahl. We need to take back our state for decency.

  25. mike from iowa 2016-02-12 08:09

    Puritans is alive and infesting the wingnut party of Duhmerica.

  26. Eve Fisher 2016-02-12 08:59

    Bob and other people who wonder how can people not know what sex they are, I used to work for Medical Genetics at Emory University, in Atlanta, where my primary job was to process the results of genetic testing on babies to determine their sex. In other words, when these babies were born, neither the doctors, nurses, or parents could tell what sex they were, because some parts were too small, some too big, and/or some were nonexistent. There were a lot more of these than you might think – this was my full time job doing this. And there have been many times when a baby was born, and everyone assigned that baby a gender – and it turned out to be wrong. Nature can be highly ambiguous. There’s a famous case (in genetic circles) of a family in which every single baby was born a girl; raised as a girl; dressed, etc., as a girl; and then, in puberty, each and every one of them turned into a boy. Nature is very, very weird. So no, these kids aren’t “twisted” or “liars” or anything else. And, BTW, it’s only the politicians who are getting their shorts in a bunch over it; the middle and high school kids are perfectly cool with it.

  27. Jenny 2016-02-12 10:17

    This is Fred Deutsch defending his transgender bill on Midday. It was quite bizarre at times and he denigrated Stu Whitney’s article for getting all the negative press. I don’t know if I believe him when he says that many, many South Dakotans have called him to support his bill.
    He brings pedophilia into the conversation as if implying transgenders are pedophiles. As a staunch LGBT supporter I was offended by this.

  28. chris 2016-02-12 10:27

    Not since the likes of Ted Klaudt have we seen SD legislators so concerned “for the children”.

  29. Bob Newland 2016-02-12 10:28

    I was simply not aware that the schools were dealing with this at all. I certainly understand what sick twisted jerks Deutsch and Omdahl (and several others) are.

  30. Jenny 2016-02-12 11:17

    My fellow DFPers, you all really need to listen to Mr Fred Deutsch. He really contradicts himself by saying his bill reinforces local control (not true at all, total lie)and that the local schools can address these issues anyway they see fit. (honestly, what is he talking about?). The “accommodation process” (his wording, he says this several time) is left 100% up to local control (sigh…. very disingenuous). Then the funny part comes when interviewer Lori Walsh asked him if this bill gives schools local control to let transgenders use the bathroom of their choice. Deutsch responds “Oh! Good Question – no it does not. The standard for SD is boys in boys and girls in girls restroom. It makes no change.”
    But, yes it does Mr Deutsch! It makes a HUGE change and undoubtedly will bring on more bullying to transgender students that already face high bullying and suicidal statistics! This is discrimination at its worst.

  31. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-12 14:21

    mtr, you asked a question about the amendment letting the AG off the hook. Deutsch originally included in his bill a section that required the AG to represent any school district that got sued for implementing the provisions of the potty bill. House State Affairs removed that section on the assurance that Alliance Defending Freedom would take those schools’ cases. HB 1008 as amended does not relieve the AG of his obligation to defend the state from any lawsuits that could arise due to this or any other bill.

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-12 14:25

    Roger E, should we be passing laws based on our amateur psychoanalysis of children? on legislators’ uncredentialed assessment that transgender kids are all addled perverts who should be governed by a blanket state policy instead of by decisions made by the local school officials who know those students personally?

  33. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-12 14:30

    Jenny, I listened to that second Deutsch show on Dakota Midday on this topic. His ability to use words to mean the opposite of what they really mean scares me.

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