Week Four Recap
Our final three bills were due this week, and this was the only five-day week for session. We must move all legislation through committee and out of the legislative house of origin by February 22nd (crossover day).
I have a few more prime-sponsored bills coming through, most of which are designed to strengthen South Dakota with a focus on women and children.
HB 1220 will provide that a female subjected to an unlawful abortion may not be held criminally liable. The tragedy of abortion is not limited to the unborn child that loses their life; the mother is also a victim. Women suffer devastating physical and psychological damage following abortions and are often led to seek one because of an industry that profits under the guise of women's health. This bill intends that no woman who seeks an abortion will suffer criminally in addition to the emotional trauma they have already sustained.
SB 182 is An Act to establish a uniform method for calculating high school credit received from completing postsecondary courses. Students in SD enrolled in dual credit programs may receive different credit hours depending on their school district. SB 182 will guarantee that students enrolled in college courses receive equal credit and don't miss out on scholarships, sports, or required credits to graduate.
SB 192 provides liability for the publishing or distributing of material harmful to minors on the internet and the wrongful retention of individually identifiable information. Since the beginning of the internet, children have had illegal access to pornography. SB 192 will require proof of identification to access pornography online and is modeled after legislation recently passed in Louisiana.
SB 193 establishes provisions related to the review and selection of instructional materials in school districts. This bill came from the serious concerns of parents throughout South Dakota. The materials available in schools throughout the state are so shocking, disturbing, and graphic that they couldn't be published in the paper. Graphic novels depicting girls engaging in oral sex, detailed descriptions of gay sex, and other items nothing less than pornographic. There's a reason why the United States has an age definition of over 18 for pornographic materials, and they have no place in our schools. This will include information considered "Harmful to minors," the quality of any description or representation, in whatever form, of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse, when it: Predominantly appeals to the prurient, shameful, or morbid interest of minors; Is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors; and is without serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. These guidelines seem like a pretty good litmus test, and this bill will also provide for a formal curriculum review process for parents within school districts.
HB 1163 is An Act to prohibit the dissemination of obscene material to minors in a public school or public library. This is a good companion bill to SB 193 as it will provide clear protocol for school and public libraries.
A bill I have co-sponsored is SB 185, to establish the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States – South Dakota and revise provisions related to the foreign ownership or control of agricultural land. We have a duty to protect South Dakota ag land from national security threats- in particular the Chinese Communist Party. This legislation will require a committee of national and state security experts and legal counsel to review any purchases, leases, and transfers of South Dakota ag land. If acquisitions are made by a foreign person, company, or entity, they will recommend whether the purchase should be approved. Any requests originating from a country that hates the United States will not be accepted.
I had the opportunity to weigh in on SB 57, to revise the eligibility of alternative instruction students for participation in school district activities. We were able to defeat this bill in committee. If you're interested in hearing the debate, click here: https://sdpb.sd.gov/sdpbpodcast/2023/sed16.mp3#t=563
We welcomed the Army National Guard to the Capitol this week and they hosted legislators for the Military Dining Night Out. We also visited with the Rapid City Sliders baseball team, to recognize them for their back-to-back Babe Ruth Midwest Plains Regional Championships and consecutive appearances in the Babe Ruth World Series.
For a complete list of my prime sponsored and co-sponsored bills, click here: https://sdlegislature.gov/Legislators/Profile/4342/Bills
I appreciate the opportunity to serve as the state Senator for my home district of 35 (Rapid Valley, Box Elder, and northeastern Rapid City). More to come this week!