By Dana Ferguson, with the Argus Leader
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has turned down an invitation to meet with transgender students before deciding whether to sign a bill that would bar them from using public school bathrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities of the gender with which they identify.
A representative from a Sioux Falls LGBT support and advocacy group said Daugaard's office responded to a letter the group sent last week saying he'd be unable to meet due to scheduling conflicts.
The news comes a day after the South Dakota Senate approved H.B. 1008 advancing it to Daugaard for his signature. Last week, the Republican governor said he hadn't knowingly met a transgender person and didn't think he needed to do so before taking up the bill.
Ashley Joubert-Gaddis, director of operations for The Center for Equality, said she was disappointed to receive the news in a voicemail Wednesday and called back to hear it again directly.
"It's disheartening and of course it's frustrating, but we've been making it clear that this isn't the end," Joubert-Gaddis said.
Daugaard has five days to approve or veto the measure after it arrives on his desk.