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For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it is ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than a million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual's rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability or national origin.

By: Libby Skarin, Policy Director & Lobbyist

On January 1, 2016, South Dakota was one of 36 states to have laws on the books allowing children who commit crimes to be sentenced to life in prison without parole. On March 29, 2016 that all changed, and we became the 15th state to ban this cruel practice with the passage of SB 140.

By: Libby Skarin, Policy Director & Lobbyist
April 25, 2016

As you know, ACLU SD worked on a lot of issues during the 2016 Legislative Session. I've already blogged about the slew of anti-LGBT legislation we saw in Pierre this year and detailed our successes there. That was the good news portion of my legislative recap. Today, let's delve into the bad news: this session was dismal for supporters of women's reproductive rights.

In 2015, we made it out of the session with no major anti-abortion bills passed into law. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case in 2016. This year we saw three bills with a substantive focus on abortion pass into law.

By James Esseks, Director, LGBT & HIV Project

A federal appeals court weighed in yesterday in the nation's ongoing conversation about restrooms and transgender people, ruling squarely in favor of transgender people and equality.

Gavin Grimm is a junior in high school in Gloucester, Virginia. He's a boy, but because he's also transgender, his school told him he couldn't use the boy's restroom at school, but would have to use the girl's room or single-user restrooms. Gavin didn't think it was right for him to be treated differently than all the other boys at his school, so (with the ACLU's help) he challenged the district's rule as discriminatory.

By: Libby Skarin, Policy Director & Lobbyist, ACLU SD

A glance at my calendar as I write this tells me that today is March 31. That date is cause for much celebration around the ACLU of South Dakota office because it means that we have officially made it to the other side of the 2016 legislative session! This year's 38 day session was a whirlwind – so take a deep breath, grab yourself a cup of coffee, and let's recap!

By: Jen Petersen, Communications Associate

The ACLU knows a thing or two about religious liberty. We work to protect the First Amendment rights of all South Dakotans, regardless of their religious beliefs or non-beliefs. That's why we sent a letter in response to Attorney General Marty Jackley's letter regarding his use of Christian prayer at a press conference last week.

Gov. Daugaard's Veto Protects the Health and Safety of Transgender Students in South Dakota


March 1, 2016

PIERRE, S.D. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard today vetoed the nation's first discriminatory anti-transgender bathroom bill to pass a state legislature.

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