SC Sheriff Leon Lott voiced criticism of the anti-transgender legislation joining Governor Nikki Haley, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and the state department in opposition.
Sheriff Leon Lott who’s jurisdiction includes South Carolina’s capitol city of Charleston made the unusual effort to comment on pending legislation targeting transgender people.
In a letter to the chairman of the Senate subcommittee set to debate S-1203 on Wednesday, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott called the bill, which requires people to use the bathroom of their birth gender, unnecessary and potentially a “huge burden” on already stretched local law enforcement.
Given the bill’s “potential impact on my Department, I felt compelled to communicate with you,” Lott said in apologizing for not being at the hearing in person because of department business.
Officers would have to determine the sex of every person entering a restroom in South Carolina, Lott said. DNA testing is cost prohibitive, and “asking deputies to check a person’s genitalia invades the subject’s dignity and privacy,” he said. In addition, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department could be exposed to costly litigation, he said.
And besides, the bill is unnecessary, he wrote. In his 41 years in law enforcement in the state, “I have never heard of a transgender person attacking or otherwise bothering someone in a restroom. This is a non-issue,’ he said.
Given the other issues facing the state like criminal domestic violence and gang activity, “I cannot endorse a bill which is unnecessary and unenforceable,” he said.
“This bill is an undisguised attack on some of our most talented and most vulnerable citizens,” Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said, adding it would cause irreparable economic damage.
U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles told lawmakers he was unaware of any assaults by transgender people or people pretending to be the opposite sex in South Carolina bathrooms.
Republican Senator Lee Bright, who sponsored the measure, said he feared adult men would use more lenient bathroom policies as an excuse to prey on women and children.
“I don’t believe that transgender people are pedophiles,” he added.
South Carolina Governor Niki Haley said the bills were unneeded and hinted that she may veto them if they make it to her desk.
So here’s an idea. Why don’t these legislators write bills upping the penalties for all people who commit crimes in public accommodations? They would if their true concern is to protect woman and children.
Again this is just an idea since there has never been a single case of a transgender person committing a crime in a restroom regardless if there was a law permitting, excluding them or none at all.