Just when we thought we were in the clear, we saw smoke on the horizon.
Yesterday, we successfully defeated House Bill 1116, an act to prohibit the use of state resources in hosting lewd or lascivious content, in the Senate Education committee.
The Senate committee voted to kill this bill 4-3, and rightfully so. If passed, it would have a massive chilling effect on the kinds programs or events on school campuses, universities, and state-funded performance centers. That means drag shows, mainstream performers, and any kind of content any individual could deem “so obscene that even the First Amendment” doesn’t cover it.
This bill is a slippery slope into state-controlled free expression, and it is wildly dangerous.
While all references to drag performances have been removed from this bill, the intent of the bill remains clear. This is a threat to drag performances and will have a chilling effect on Pride events hosted in public parks or on school campuses. When the government tries to limit, mandate, or prohibit speech, it is inevitably beholden to the whims of whoever is in power. In 2018, there was a legislative rail against Muslims. Today, the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit community is the target. Tomorrow who knows?
Please reach out to your Senator this morning and ask them to vote NO on House Bill 1116! Call the Senate pages and request that they leave a note on your Senator’s desk: 605-773-3821.
- Students have a right to express themselves, and students have a right to attend performances and presentations that express ideas and identities that enrich their educational experience. This bill is attempting to limit free expression.
- Who decides what is considered lewd and lascivious? Government officials cannot impose their personal moral values on others. Doing so violates our First Amendment rights.
- House Bill 1116 is unconstitutional. It violates the freedom of expression of all South Dakotans on school campuses, universities, and state-funded performance centers. If you don't like an entertainment event, there’s a simple solution: Don't attend it.
This bill cannot pass. Please help us make sure this House Bill 1116 stays dead.