Update: House Bill 1178 has been assigned to the Senate State Affairs Committee. 

ACT FAST: Tell members of the committee to REJECT House Bill 1178. Email or call them today. Follow this space for updates! 


Sample letter

Dear [Legislators],

Government officials cannot impose their personal moral values on others. That’s a key part of the First Amendment – and why I urge you to vote no on House Bill 1178.

Who decides what is considered obscene? It’s impossible to define obscene in a way that isn’t hopelessly vague and subjective. House Bill 1178, if passed, would clearly limit free expression. This legislation would chill free expression by placing a huge question mark over what kind of expression is allowed under this law. 

Everyone already has the right to decide what art or entertainment programs they want – or do not want – to attend or watch. House Bill 1178 isn’t going to help anyone. South Dakotans don’t want this. Please don’t violate our First Amendment rights to free expression. Please vote NO on House Bill 1178.


[First Name] [Last Name]

Senate State Affairs Committee Members

House Bill 1178 would prohibit the Board of Regents or any institution under its control from using state resources for obscene live conduct.   

The ACLU of South Dakota opposes House Bill 1178. This bill is clearly yet another attempt to restrict free speech and expression in South Dakota. When we’re talking about adhering to the First Amendment in the context of art and entertainment, defending free speech means tolerating some works that others might find lewd, lascivious, or obscene.

It’s impossible to define obscene, lewd, and lascivious in a way that isn’t hopelessly vague and subjective, and government officials cannot impose their personal moral values on others. 

Freedom of expression for ourselves requires freedom of expression for others.


Representative Karr (prime) and Senator Novstrup





Bill number