Antiscience legislation in South Dakota

01.16.2017

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.

If enacted, SB 55 would provide, "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 aimed at evolution and/or climate change, including South Dakota's SB 114 in 2015. And the sponsorship is similar: Jeff Monroe (R-District 24), a sponsor of SB 55, also sponsored SB 112 in 2014, which would have prevented school boards and administrators from prohibiting teachers from teaching "intelligent design."

In sponsoring SB 55, Monroe is joined by Bob Ewing (R-District 31), Phil Jensen (R-District 33), Stace Nelson (R-District 19), Jim Stalzer (R-District 11), and John Wiik (R-District 4).