PIERRE, SD (Feb. 10, 2020) – Today, HB 1057, originally written to criminalize appropriate medical treatment of transgender children under 16, then amended, was stopped by a bipartisan effort in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee with a vote of 5-2.Voting to send HB 1057 to the 41st Day, effectively killing the bill, were Senators Deb Soholt, Wayne Steinhauer, Helene Duhamel, Red Dawn Foster, and Art Rusch. The motion was opposed by Republican Senators Lance Russell and Phil Jensen. The amended bill eliminated the criminal penalty for providing medical treatment, banned medical treatment for gender dysphoria in youth under 16, and allowed parents and “next friends” to seek civil action up to 38 years after such treatment. 

People on both sides of the issue packed the committee room in the capitol where State Representative Fred Deutsch’s House Proposal, co-sponsored by 46 of his fellow Republicans in the South Dakota House and Senate, received testimony on behalf of South Dakota children, families, and physicians. All Democratic Representatives opposed the bill. 

“We listened to South Dakota families and doctors, and we listened to kids,” said Senate Minority Leader Troy Heinert. “The government has no right to interfere in the relationship between children, their parents, and the professionals who help them. That is a sacred trust. Democrats will continue to fight for limited intrusion into those relationships where individual decisions are made.” 

Democrats in both the House and the Senate have been outspoken in their defense of transgender youth and in their opposition to HB 1057. 

“This attack on families and young people in South Dakota was not wanted or warranted,” said House Minority Leader Jamie Smith. “Last week in my district, we had hundreds of people, including faith leaders, who marched in support of LGBTQ+ people, their families, and their doctors. These divisive and discriminatory bills cause irreparable harm to our young people and they hurt our reputation as a state that is open for business. They have to stop.” 

The proposed law would have prohibited doctors from providing surgeries and sex hormone treatments that do not occur in South Dakota, and which are not part of the international standards of medical care for transgender children. It also would have prohibited “puberty blockers” that pause the development of secondary sex characteristics, and give young people and their families more time to deliberate and make decisions about how to move forward. 

“When you look at the depression and the rates of suicide among transgender young people who don’t have access to appropriate medical assistance, you have to do everything you can to stop bills like this from happening in South Dakota,” said Heinert. “Now we can focus on bills that lift our kids up and help them succeed.” 

Contact: Rep. Jamie Smith (605)339-3583


Senate Democratic Leader Senator Troy Heinert (D-Mission) 

House Democratic Leader Representative Jamie Smith (D-Sioux Falls)