South Dakota Creationism Bill for 2017

South Dakota has had the shame of contending with a creationism bill every year since 2014. Now, for the fourth consecutive year, it’s happening again. Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) just posted Antiscience legislation in South Dakota. They say:

South Dakota’s Senate Bill 55, introduced on January 11, 2017, and referred to the Senate Education Committee, appears to be the first antiscience bill of the year.

It’s the first to be literally filed this year, but an earlier one was pre-filed in December, which we wrote about in South Carolina’s 2017 ‘Academic Freedom’ Bill.

Anyway, NCSE provides this link to the South Dakota bill: SENATE BILL NO. 55. It’s titled: “An Act to protect the teaching of certain scientific information.” The actual bill is very short:


Section 1. That chapter 13-1 be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read:

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.

It was introduced by Senators Monroe, Ewing, Jensen (Phil), Nelson, Stalzer, and Wiik. Two of those names (Monroe and Jensen) were sponsors of last year’s creationism bill — which we wrote about in South Dakota Creationism: New Bill for 2016. The new bill was also introduced by Representatives Campbell, Frye-Mueller, Goodwin, Heinemann, and Howard. Two of them — Campbell and Heinemann — sponsored last year’s bill too.

To no one’s surprise, the language of this year’s bill is similar to last year’s effort. It’s a typical example of the Discovery Institute’s Academic Freedom bill. We’ve critiqued their model bill here: Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws.

Because his name was listed first, out of alphabetical order, Senator Jeff Monroe appears to be the principal sponsor of this year’s bill, as he was last year and the year before. That’s his page at the South Dakota Senate’s website, which says he’s a chiropractor. He’s also a drooling creationist, but we don’t need to be told that.

You can follow the progress of the new bill here: Senate Bill 55. Nothing’s happened yet except that it was referred to the Senate Education Committee on 11 January. The South Dakota legislature convened on 10 January, and they’re scheduled to adjourn “late March.” We’ll be watching, so stay tuned to this blog.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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One response to “South Dakota Creationism Bill for 2017

  1. So it would be illegal to refute any student’s claims, no matter what they are, based upon sound, scientific information. Interesting. Then in SDak it’s a free-for-all!