Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard has vetoed a bill that would require trans students to use the bathrooms of their assigned gender.
In a move that is likely to send shockwaves through many conservative camps, the South Dakotan Governor said the issue was a matter for local school boards and not the state government.
In a letter to the Speaker of the State’s lower chamber, he said: “I respectfully return to you House Bill 1008, with my veto.
“This bill seeks to impose statewide standards on ‘every restroom, locker room, and shower room located in a public elementary or secondary school.’
“It removed the ability of local school districts to determine the most appropriate accommodations for their individual students and replaces that flexibility with a state mandate.
“If and when these rare situations arise, I believe local school officials are best positioned to address them.”
His veto came just hours before the deadline that would have seen the bill automatically take effect.
Last week, Mr Daugaard met with trans people to discuss the issue and Caitlyn Jenner urged her Twitter followers to support a petition against the measure.
Commenting on the decision, the Transgender Legal Defence and Education Fund, said it commended the Governor for taking action against the legislation.
“Transgender young people already face extraordinarily high rates of bullying in school, and this bill would have made them targets for further harassment,” said executive director, Michael Silverman.
To his credit, the Governor listened to students’ concerns, took their words to heart and rejected this harmful bill.”
The group added that it believed had the bill past, it would have likely been subject to a number of legal challenges.
The state Senate passed the bill last month, after the House of Representatives had already done so.
Sponsor of the bill, Representative Fred Deutsch said he was “disappointed” but wouldn’t try and gather votes for an override.
Instead, he will try and introduce a similar measure in the chamber next year.