Antiscience legislation in South Dakota defeated

02.25.2019

South Dakota's House Bill 1270which would have allowed the misrepresentation of science in the public school classroom, was rejected by the House of Representatives on a 21-46-3 vote on February 25, 2019.

If enacted, HB 1270 would ostensibly have allowed public school teachers to help 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 were 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, and the two proponents of the bill speaking before the House Education Committee in favor of the bill cited global warming, the Big Bang, "unguided evolution," and the origin of life as topics of particular concern.

Of the two similar bills introduced in 2019, one, North Dakota's House Bill 1538, was withdrawn from further consideration by its sponsor, and one, Oklahoma's Senate Bill 14, was rejected by the House Committee on Education.