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Transgender bathroom measure may go before voters in 2018

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) -- A ballot measure that would require transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding with their sex at birth may go before voters in 2018, Attorney General Marty Jackley said Tuesday.

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A ballot measure that would require transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding with their sex at birth may go before voters in 2018, Attorney General Marty Jackley said Tuesday.

Jackley announced that he has filed an explanation of the measure with the secretary of state's office. If supporters gather enough signatures by November 2017, it would be placed on the ballot for the 2018 election.

The proposal revives a heated fight from the 2016 legislative session over a similar bill, which Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard eventually vetoed. The state House failed to override the rejection in March.

Ballot measure sponsor Jack Heyd said he wants to protect children and ensure that students have privacy. He fears people going into restrooms for "nefarious" reasons, said Heyd, a political novice who is chairman of the Committee to Ensure Student Privacy.

Under the plan, schools would have to provide a "reasonable accommodation" for transgender students, such as a single-occupancy bathroom or the "controlled use" of a staff-designated restroom, locker room or shower room.

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The language mirrors the 2016 bill, which Daugaard said didn't address "any pressing issue" and that such decisions were best left to local schools.

Opponents said the legislation was an attack on vulnerable transgender students that would further marginalize them at school.

Such a bill is likely also to be introduced again during the 2017 legislative session that begins in January. If lawmakers are successful in passing it, Heyd said his work would likely be finished.

"If they can't get the job done, then I'll be ready," Heyd said.

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