Today the South Dakota Senate failed to protect children. Senator Novstrup asked the chamber to calendar a bill that would have implemented basic protections for children and ensured that state resources aren’t used for obscene performances.

Citizens across the state were appalled in 2022 when children were invited to an event that was clearly not appropriate for young eyes. Families were invited to come, and encouraged to bring cash to tip the dancers. After the backlash, the Board of Regents took steps to temporarily fix the problem, and committed to working with the legislature to clarify the law. HB1116 would have provided that clarity.

HB1116 would have done three very simple things:

-Ensure that state resources aren’t used for obscene events.

-Clarify that obscene events aren’t protected by intellectual diversity laws.

-Clarify that entities in SD have the authority to prohibit minors from attending inappropriate events.

The bill passed the House on a sweeping vote, with 60 members voting yes and 10 voting no. The bill was killed in Senate Education Committee on a vote of 4-3, but then “smoked out” and delivered to the floor when 12 Senators stood in support. The 12 Senators were Beal, Bolin, Castleberry, Frye-Mueller, Hoffman, Klumb, Maher, Mehlhaff, Novstrup, Pischke, Wiik, Zikmund.

After being delivered to the floor, the next vote was to “calendar” the bill and allow for debate. This motion received only 15 votes, but needed 18 yes votes for the bill to move forward.

The bill is dead, but this fight is not over. Legislators, concerned parents and pro-family groups aren’t giving up. We will keep fighting for children and families despite today’s loss.