The ACLU of South Dakota's 2022 Legislative Priorities

We're watching the legislative process closely. Follow this page for updates and alerts.

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What happens during the annual sessions of the South Dakota Legislature has a deep and lasting impact on our state’s people and communities.

Over the next few months, hundreds of bills will be proposed. While some will get voted down and others retooled and enacted into law, it is important to ensure these changes preserve and strengthen South Dakota's constitutional rights, not hinder them.

The ACLU of South Dakota diligently monitors the wide range of issues at the legislature. Educational, organizing, and lobbying efforts are aimed at informing both lawmakers and the public about the civil rights and civil liberties implications of the bills proposed by our elected officials.



How this all works 

The stakes are high for legislative action in 2022, and we must defend and protect the civil liberties of all South Dakota, especially for some of our most vulnerable populations.

On this page you can learn more about the issues we’ll be watching most closely during session 2022 and how you can get involved. 

1. Classroom Censorship

A.Classroom Censorship


In the past several months, there has been a proliferation of efforts across the country to restrict the teaching of so-called “divisive concepts.” This nationwide push is part of a concerted and coordinated effort to limit teacher and student rights, free speech, and hinder the discussion of racial justice issues in classrooms.

We’re seeing it here in South Dakota, too, most recently with the removal of Native American topics from the South Dakota Department of Education’s content standards and the assembly of a second committee to recommend entirely new revisions. 


Students are the next generation of leaders who will move us through the journey to a more just and inclusive democracy. We cannot rob them of the requisite historical knowledge of Indigenous people in our state. The more South Dakota students can learn about our history – the good, the bad and the ugly – and the lessons it can teach us, the better prepared they will be to tackle the inequities and injustices present in our communities. Every student should have the right to receive an inclusive education and have an open and honest dialogue about America’s history.

2. LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit Equality

A.LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit Equality


Every year, issues that matter most to South Dakotans are ignored as some South Dakota legislators continue to attack the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit community and erode their rights with bills that stoke fear and hatred amid discriminatory rhetoric. 

Bill after bill seems fixated on the incorrect notion that some of our friends and neighbors are not entitled to the same dignity and respect as others. Bills to prevent transgender athletes from competing. Bills that would allow health care providers, medical institutions and health insurance providers to refuse care to a patient on religious, moral, ethical or philosophical grounds. Bills that would ban transgender people from obtaining birth certificates that accurately reflect their identity.

The more we legislate solutions in search of problems, the more our communities suffer. It’s time we stop these attacks and focus on issues that matter to the people of South Dakota.


3. Reproductive Freedom

A.Reproductive Freedom


Personal privacy and reproductive rights are among our most important constitutional liberties. But extremist politicians don’t seem to care about our constitutional rights.

From Texas and Arizona to right here in South Dakota, politicians are working extremely hard to prevent people from getting an abortion or to shame them out of having one. Whether it’s forced waiting periods, medically unnecessary and stigmatizing procedures, requiring coercive and inaccurate medical information to be presented to pregnant people seeking abortion care, legally empowering medical professionals to discriminate against pregnant people because of their personal religious beliefs, or flat-out bans, these politicians are determined to block abortion access. And in doing so, they’re robbing pregnant people of their basic human and civil rights.

It’s beyond time for South Dakota to recognize that abortion care is essential health care. It is our right to shape our families, to access the health care we need, to decide when or whether we have children, and how we shape our lives. 

Add your name: Defend reproductive freedom