South Dakota lawmakers say social issues grabbing ‘lots of air’ this session

South Dakota News

Quinncy Parke, 17, testifies to the South Dakota House State Affairs committee against a bill that would make it illegal for doctors to give gender-change treatment to children under 16, during a hearing Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 in Pierre, S.D. The South Dakota House committee passed a bill that would allow for the prosecution of physicians who help children under age 16 to change their gender. The bill would make it a Class 1 misdemeanor for medical providers in the state to perform surgeries, administer puberty-blocking medication or hormone therapy drugs to minors to change their gender. Nurses and other non-licensed medical practitioners would be exempt from prosecution. (AP Photo/Stephen Groves)

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – There’s one thing Republicans and Democrats in South Dakota agree on this session: Social issues are grabbing “lots of air.”

The Republican-dominated Legislature has seen a string of bills favored by social conservatives in the first three weeks of the legislative session.

The proposals include a ban on gender-change medical treatments for children under 16, a ban on commercial surrogacy agents, and an end to state recognition of gay marriage.

Republicans hold every statewide office and a super-majority in the Legislature.

State laws mandate that every bill gets a hearing.

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