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 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.

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU LGBT & HIV Project

For the past five days, Republican South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has considered whether to sign or veto the anti-transgender bill that passed the South Dakota Legislature last week.

Today he vetoed the bill and sent an important message to all South Dakotans and particularly to the estimated 1,300 transgender students in South Dakota that his state won't let fear and ignorance of difference dictate state law.

The bill, HB 1008, targeted transgender students and proposed assigning them to separate bathrooms.
By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU LGBT & HIV Project
February 16, 2016 | 5:30 PM

Earlier today, ACLU attorney Chase Strangio wrote a note to South Dakota legislators, urging them not to sign HB 1008, which targets transgender students in South Dakota. They didn't listen. Now it's up to South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard to veto HB 1008 and make sure the government stops hurting vulnerable kids. Sign the petition to tell Gov. Daugaard to protect South Dakota students.

I am now 33 years old, and I have an incredible job and a loving family. I am proud of who I am and all that I have been able to accomplish. But if I were a student in South Dakota right now, chances are I would not survive into adulthood.

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