Antiscience legislation in South Dakota

02.01.2019

South Dakota's House Bill 1270, which would allow the misrepresentation of science in the classroom, was introduced on January 30, 2019.

If enacted, HB 1270 would require, "No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48 [the section of the state code that governs the state education standards revision cycle]."

Although no specific scientific topics are mentioned, the language of the bill matches the language in bills explicitly aimed at disputing evolution and/or climate change, including South Dakota's SB 114 in 2015. In 2016, the identical SB 83 was introduced and eventually died in committee; in 2017, the identical SB 55 passed the Senate but ultimately was defeated in the House Education Committee.

Before its defeat, SB 55 received consistent opposition from the state's educational organizations, including the South Dakota Department of Education, the School Administrators of South Dakota, Associated School Boards of South Dakota, and the South Dakota Education Association, as well as from national organizations concerned with education, science, and civil liberties.

HB 1270 has eleven sponsors, nine in the House and two in the Senate, of whom seven are also sponsors of House Concurrent Resolution 1002 and House Bill 1113.