Criticism from her former right-wing advisor notwithstanding, Governor Kristi Noem’s retread bill to discriminate against South Dakota’s (what, two? three?) transgender school athletes passed Senate State Affairs Thursday and is on its way to its first floor vote this week. (The Session is only a week old; the Legislature is sure in a hurry to usurp local school board authority and bully transgender South Dakotans.)
Senate Bill 46 did accrue its first amendment Thursday. Senator Mary Duvall (R-24/Pierre) sought to ease schools’ concerns about costly discrimination lawsuits by adding Section 5, which extends the state’s helping hand in defending against any litigation that arises from Noem’s mandated transgender discrimination:
For any lawsuit brought or any complaint filed against an accredited school, a school district, or an institution of higher education under the control of either the Board of Regents or the Board of Technical Education, or an employee, board, or a member thereof, as a result of compliance with section 1 of this Act, the attorney general shall provide legal representation at no cost to that entity or individual.
In addition to the expenses of representation, the state shall assume financial responsibility for any other expense related to the lawsuit or complaint and incurred by an accredited school, a school district, or an institution of higher education, or an employee, board, or a member, including any award for attorney’s fees and costs for which that entity or individual would be otherwise responsible [2022 SB 46, Amendment 46A, approved by Senate State Affairs, 2022.01.14].
Hmmm—maybe that’s why the Governor wants to pour another $1.5 million into the state’s extraordinary litigation fund.
But hey: the good news, schools, is that the state will pick up your legal bills for enforcing her anti-trans campaign ploy. The bad news is, for the time being, your lawyer would be Jason Ravnsborg. Hmmm… maybe the schools should call their legislators and urge them to hurry up and remove Ravnsborg from office so they can have competent legal representation.