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Box Elder Republican May Petition Anti-Transgender Student Potty Bill onto 2018 Ballot

Just as we Democrats are getting good advice to focus on bread-and-butter economic issues in the 2018 election, some Republican decides to drag the culture war onto the 2018 ballot.

Box Elder Republican Jack Ray Heyd has filed a close copy of Fred Deutsch‘s shameful, costly, paranoid potty bill (you know, 2016 House Bill 1008, the one Governor Dennis Daugaard had the good sense to veto) with the Attorney General with the intent of circulating an initiative petition to give South Dakotans the chance to bully transgender students out of the locker rooms and bathrooms that correspond to their identity:

The petition comes from Box Elder’s Jack Heyd, who said he was disappointed by Daugaard’s veto of that proposal, House Bill 1008. He and a group of friends have been talking about a ballot measure since the spring.

Heyd says he’s never run for political office or worked on a campaign in an official capacity before but was motivated to act by the veto and President Barack Obama’s guidance on the issue of transgender rights.

Allowing transgender students to use the same facilities as other students is unsafe, Heyd said, and “opens privacy up beyond any reasonable measure.”

“Maybe it’s time the people had their voice heard,” he said [John Hult and Dana Ferguson, “Voters May Get to Decide on Transgender Bathroom Law,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.11.22].

I’m surprised Heyd wants to go to the trouble of a ballot measure. With plenty of new culture warriors on the hunt for distractions in the 2017 Legislature, Heyd has better odds of pushing this bill past a gubernatorial veto. And as any of us petitioners will attest, it generally takes less effort to win the votes of 71 legislators than collect 20,000 signatures and win 180,000 votes from people all over South Dakota.

(Update 13:59 CST: AP says such a bill is likely to be introduced in the 2017 Session; Heyd tells AP, “If they can’t get the job done, then I’ll be ready.”)

Various friends and thinkers are saying we need to respond to the dubious narrative that Trump won on economic concerns by throttling our supposed over-emphasis on social issues and talking about pocketbook issues. But if Heyd puts this anti-transgender initiative on the ballot, I won’t just give an “It’s the economy, stupid” shrug and let the conservative culture crusaders hold the floor. I will play the social justice samurai (or kamikaze?) and tell my neighbors that Heyd’s initiative is as ill-informed and hateful as Deutsch’s bill and that we have an obligation to follow Governor Daugaard’s example in vetoing such bigoted bullying.

If my fellow Democratic candidates need some economic soothing, I’ll point out that a similar bathroom bill has cost North Carolina around $400 million, mostly in economic activity as businesses, sports teams, and entertainers avoid or pull out of the state. I’ll also point out that North Carolina’s paranoid potty bill may also have cost their Republican governor his job; even though Trump won the North Carolina Presidential vote, Democratic challenger Roy Cooper is beating Republican Governor and potty bill-signer Pat McCrory by 6,000 votes.

What’s that? Social justice issues can still break for a Democratic candidate in a Trumpy state? Maybe I should sign Heyd’s petition….

Trivial Tangent: Jack Heyd organized a “Constitution Rally” in May 2013 in Rapid City where Stace Nelson warmed up for his 2014 U.S. Senate bid and posed for one of my favorite political-blog pix ever.


  1. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-22 17:08

    Equality South Dakota is raising money to fund a full-time lobbyist. 31 freshman legislators will need lots of patient lobbying and information to help them understand why measures like the potty bill are bad for South Dakota. EqSD PAC will match donations dollar for dollar (up to $5K total). Help them out here:

  2. Darin Larson 2016-11-22 17:31

    Let’s put this in economic terms that the Chamber and others interested in SD economic development can understand: If this bill passes either in the legislature or by initiated measure, we will be the big business pariah of the plains. Say good-bye to the NCAA Women’s Elite 8 basketball tournament and don’t even bother applying for a regional NCAA Men’s basketball slot. The Skyforce could lose their affiliation with the Miami Heat. Professional golf tournaments and pro-ams would be under pressure to move out of SD. And the big kahuna in this whole thing: tourism boycotts could ensue next summer.

  3. jerry 2016-11-22 17:45

    Mr. Larson, with all due respect, let them proceed. This is just like Buttercup’s bill that is only meant to promote themselves. This game has already been played, so why not play it again. This helps to show that there are no ideas for jobs, none. They only want you to get all up in arms to take away from the real reason they come up with this crap, they are empty. They got nothing. No jobs only traps to lure you into being just like them. Don’t take the bait.

  4. Porter Lansing 2016-11-22 18:10

    Many years ago, under Republican majority, Colorado was branded a “hate state” and boycotted by those siding with LGBT. The loss of tourism was very harmful. Avoid the desigation.

  5. jerry 2016-11-22 18:14

    Mr. Lansing, what became of the Republican majority those years ago?

  6. Porter Lansing 2016-11-22 18:32

    Jerry, It’s still a very close legislature. R’s and D’s majority goes back and forth. R’s won this cycle. Of course in national elections CO is pretty blue.

  7. jerry 2016-11-22 18:47

    Indeed, but look what you have accomplished there. There needs to be a balance and we cannot have that if we continue to allow one group to keep setting traps that are big enough to catch a Buick. Marijuana legalization, what a triumph to show the business potential of your state and how to lower taxes. Colorado now has business interests that are coming to the state because they know you mean business. That fits right into the wheelhouse of Republican policy. If you have an equality in governing, you have a working government.

  8. Porter Lansing 2016-11-22 19:01

    Right, Jerry. Please, call me Porter if you like. The marijuna law has brought incredible business to the state that has nothing to do with pot. Really big companies like ARROW and AVAYA have moved here because of the reputation for innovation that came from doing something well that no state had ever done before, tweaking along the way and seeing the project through to completion. Next will be single payer health insurance.

  9. jerry 2016-11-22 19:14

    Porter, here is another Daugaard, NOem, Thune and Rounds lie. Destroying Obamacare, root and branch.

    What these 4 goof offs did to the South Dakota economy borders on malpractice. They have cost the state a billion dollars. A BILLION bucks. gone like the wind blows dandelion seeds. The insurance companies, of which Rounds made his millions, need to know what the plan is as they are business people who need to make decisions. Hospitals and healthcare providers are business that need to know what the future is. Real Republicans would have already made the call that repeal would not be an answer, so we are stuck with this group of dummies stumbling all over themselves after being caught in a huge lie. How many times did NOem say that she had a bill ready for replacement? 60 plus times of lying. Caught in the act and she now wants to be governor? Naw, to incompetent to be anything close to that. These guys are job killers.

  10. Tim 2016-11-22 19:17

    I should sell the house and move to CO, get my family out of this Republican sewer.

  11. Porter Lansing 2016-11-22 19:29

    Job killers. Business likes new things and ideas. South Dakota obstructs new things and ideas.
    @Tim … lots of people are always moving here. Few ever move away.

  12. jerry 2016-11-22 19:44

    As adverse as voters seem to be towards professional politicos, I would even go to the idea of putting an actual business person in to run the place. My choice would be John T as the governor of this state. I think the business skills that he has would be as such, that a baiting bill like the Box Elder fear monger has put forward, would be ridiculed by Republican party business people, as with all business people, without fear of reprisal. The business community would know that he had their back. NOem, wet noodle, Jackley, too much dirty laundry to oversee anything. The state needs someone who can reign in the crazy, I think here is the guy.

  13. Susan Geersen 2016-11-22 19:57

    Jack Heyd has some personal issues that need to be addressed. Move on Mr. Heyd.

  14. Donald Pay 2016-11-22 20:25

    There is this little bit of urinal etiquette that we learn as boys. You look straight ahead or straight down while doing your business, but you don’t look over at someone else’s business. It strikes me that Mr. Heyd didn’t learn proper male bathroom etiquette, which makes me wonder if he’s actually a female, and shouldn’t be in the Men’s Bathroom under his proposal. A real man wouldn’t care about what equipment someone else standing next to him has.

  15. grudznick 2016-11-22 20:41

    Mr. Pay is righter than right. Maximum distance. Eyes front. No peeking. No hands-free. Don’t over-do the shake.

  16. Laurisa 2016-11-22 20:49

    Maybe he’s bypassing the legislature and going straight for the ballot because he at least understands that even though the legislature is likely to pass it and override a gubernatorial veto, it would end up on the ballot anyway. So he figures he’ll cut out the legislative part altogether and just cut to the chase. Problem is, it’s not likely to pass statewide. Too bad, so sad, for him.

    And don’t these idiots have anything better to do with their time and the position entrusted to them by the voters to get REAL work done than harass people who feel they were born into the wrong gender? Didn’t his party just elect a man-child who thinks rape and sexual assault against women are just dandy? Shouldn’t he have more of a problem with that?

    And does he not realize that the very day after the election at least four transgender teenagers completed suicide and many more attempts were made? Who the bleep do he and his compatriots think they are? And WHY are they and their party always SO interested in what goes on in people’s private lives (people they don’t even know) and bedrooms and whether or not they feel they were born into the wrong gender? What difference does it make to them and their lives? Aren’t they supposed to be the party of small government and getting government off people’s backs?

  17. Laurisa 2016-11-22 20:57

    Jerry, wait until Ryan and his merry band of soulless demons phase out and destroy Medicare, as they’ve been wanting to do for years and now, finally, have the complete control they need in order to accomplish it. Rounds, Noem and Thune will be gleefully hopping on that bandwagon and riding it all the way to the end of the line, to the destruction of the state’s medical economy and the health of the majority of its seniors. The very seniors who likely voted for them (some of the very ones saying ‘get your government hands off my Medicare, no doubt”). When the last serious attempt was made, the state’s medical leaders and many business leaders pleaded with Noem and Thune not to allow it, but they couldn’t have cared less. This state is heavily dependent upon Medicare economically, but that argument made no dent in their hateful ideology either.

    But just try to get them to give up their own Cadillac federal health care, paid for by those of us who not only don’t have the same plans, but from whom they are eager to take away what insurance we may have.

  18. jerry 2016-11-22 21:11

    Laurisa, there is only one thing that will change and that is to keep reminding people that there are answers to their issues of jobs and income. This has already been proven with the facts of higher wages this January 1st! Sound that horn and take some credit while heaping scorn on those that bring those thoughtless bills to waste time.

  19. Jana 2016-11-22 22:43

    Fred Deutsch, this is your baby, own it and speak out!

    After you get done telling us how many free meals and drinks you’ve and your friends have taken to bend your ear on votes, tell us your plan to replace revenue to the state with your potty bill.

    Or is your bill, that is a solution looking for a problem, just a wedge issue that gets you a conservative merit badge, some donations and scares otherwise good people into voting for you and your party.

    So far these hating homophobes have been lucky and are banking on the media not asking them directly what the unintended consequences of Fred’s homophobic bill would be.

    Please, please…stop embarrassing and costing everyone in South Dakota with your hateful bills and self serving politics.

  20. Loren 2016-11-22 22:50

    Why is it that Republicans seem totally fixated on individual’s private parts and how they use them? Borders on the unnatural!

  21. jerry 2016-11-22 23:02

    Roll it all back on them. How will this create jobs? If you cannot keep on track on the importance of the economy and above all else, the jobs that drive it, get out of the way with your potty nonsense. Move on and find jobs or find yourself a new one. Simple stuff.

  22. Tyler Schumacher 2016-11-23 00:19

    It seems like maybe people would grow up if all bathrooms were open to everyone.

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-23 06:12

    Jana, Fred Deutsch did speak out. He told that Sioux Falls paper that he thinks Heyd’s move is great.

    Darin, I concur: we should definitely emphasize the economic side of this bill. Having the Legislature pass it would be damaging enough; having the bill pass by popular vote would signal that unwelcoming bigotry runs even deeper in our culture.

    Tyler—interesting! I’ve been thinking the solution is single-stall bathrooms for everyone. You go the opposite direction and say the bathrooms should be more open. It is strange that as the culture has become more wired, connected, and voyeuristic, as clothing has become more revealing and sexuality more public, as the value of privacy itself has been degraded, we have moved toward greater privacy in bathrooms and locker rooms, with dividers even between the urinals. What explains that seeming divergence?

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-23 06:14

    Jerry, there’s no evidence Heyd is working in concert with the SDGOP. I look forward to seeing his campaign finance reports. Since he’s starting his petition work this year, I would imagine he’ll need to file a year-end report by February 6 so we can see how he paid for this initial work.

    I notice also he declined to comment on tape for SDPB. Again, when a ballot question sponsor declines to be upfront with the media, we should be suspicious.

  25. Jenny 2016-11-23 09:33

    How does one know who is transgender or not? Will they need to be inspected?
    At my daughter’s public middle school here in MN, the policy is if one doesn’t feel comfortable dressing for gym they don’t have to.
    They are urged to wear comfortable enough clothing on the days they have Phys Ed. Decent enough policy and the school has never heard any complaints through the years. Why does SD always have to make issues out of nothing?
    If parents don’t feel safe sending their child to a public school, there are plenty of private schools that are waiting for your money, and there is always homeschooling.

  26. Eve Fisher 2016-11-23 10:22

    Guns, transgender and (probably) another abortion bill – our SD Legislature always knows how to keep the attention focused on anything but the real problems facing this state, like the economy.

  27. Porter Lansing 2016-11-23 11:03

    Jenny asks: Why does SD always have to make issues out of nothing? (It seems to me to always be Republicans, Conservatives and the overly religious)
    ~ It’s a product of insecurity. Nit picking every issue to build up their own value.
    University of Minnesota researcher Vladas Griskevicius has three words to explain why people may be evolutionarily inclined to make a mountain out of molehill: aggression, status and sex.

  28. jerry 2016-11-23 12:37

    LMAO, good one bcb. Maybe then a wall should be built between drainage areas so that there can be no surprises. Like on an airplane, you can go into and individual stall and be at one with yourself. Hey, jobs program!!

  29. Bob Newland 2016-11-24 09:18

    I will put up $50 that Heyd doesn’t get his stupid issue on the ballot.

  30. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-24 15:42

    Bob, maybe the Republican Legislature will help him out by not putting new requirements and restrictions on petition circulators.

    Eve, maybe the potty bill will get us back to pocketbook issues that matter by stimulating the economy through the hiring of lots of plumbers and contractors to turn all school bathrooms into single-stall units and by promoting the hiring of the gender-bender-inspectors Jenny says we’ll need to enforce. Hooray for unfunded government mandates and big government from South Dakota Republicans!

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