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OUR VIEW: Daugaard's process in decision-making commendable

Gov. Dennis Daugaard made a respectable decision to meet with transgender people Tuesday at the Capitol. The meeting came via request from a Sioux Falls nonprofit group after the governor said he had not knowingly met a transgender person. Daugaa...

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Gov. Dennis Daugaard made a respectable decision to meet with transgender people Tuesday at the Capitol.

The meeting came via request from a Sioux Falls nonprofit group after the governor said he had not knowingly met a transgender person. Daugaard is currently mulling a controversial bill that would require students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their sex at birth.

The nonprofit group, American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, and LGBT-rights organizations have urged the governor to veto the bill. The deadline for action on the measure is Tuesday.

Following the meeting, Daugaard said "it helped me see things through their eyes a little bit and understand their perspective."

During his tenure as governor, Daugaard has done a commendable job to, at the very least, get interested parties to the table to hash out issues.

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Most recently, he assembled the Blue Ribbon Task Force to seek a way to increase South Dakota's teacher pay from lowest in the nation. Included in the task force were members of both sides of the political aisle, educators and school administrators.

The governor has also assembled a task force to study the possibility of Medicaid expansion, and a work group to examine wildlife habitat loss due to declining pheasant populations.

Now, with House Bill 1008, the transgender bathroom bill, the governor again took additional time to ensure hearing from all players at the table.

At the meeting, Daugaard heard personal stories of three transgender people and one of their mothers. According to one of the attendees, the governor was genuine, responsive and asked questions during the private meeting.

This bill has garnered national attention and received criticism from Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner, but we applaud Daugaard for not rushing into a decision.

Sometimes, with large-scale issues facing our state, we need to be patient with our lawmakers and allow them time to know a justified decision has been made. Clearly, all will not agree with whatever decision Daugaard decides on HB 1008, whether he signs it or vetoes it.

But let's at least take a moment to appreciate that our governor is absorbing as much information as he can before coming to his conclusion.

Whatever he decides, at least he gave all sides a chance. With this practice, Daugaard is setting a good precedent that more politicians should follow, rather than jumping to decisions based on their political party or their own preconceived notions. Here's hoping others follow suit.

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