South Dakota Legislature Kills Bill That Would Have Barred Schools From Hosting Drag Shows

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Reagan Reese Contributor
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The South Dakota legislature killed a bill on Tuesday that would have prohibited state institutions and public schools from funding or hosting “lewd or lascivious content,” a piece of legislation aimed at restricting drag shows.

The Senate Education Committee voted 4-3 against House Bill 1116 despite the legislation passing the state House in January with a 60-10 vote. The bill, which would prohibit public schools from funding any event that depicts sexual activity and obscene material, was drafted in response to a “kid friendly” drag show hosted at South Dakota State University in 2022, according to KELO News. (RELATED: Kristi Noem Suggests Conservative Group’s Leader Should Be Fired For Criticizing Her Response To Kids’ Drag Show)

“No state agency or institution under the control of a state agency, or public school district may authorize or expend public moneys or use any state-owned facility or property to develop, implement, facilitate, host, promote, or fund any lewd or lascivious content,” the bill stated.

Under the legislation, the state Board of Regents and state Board of Technical Education, who oversee the state’s public universities, would have the authority to prohibit minors from attending any such show or event.

South Dakota State University’s “kid friendly” drag show that sparked the legislation told attendees to bring $1 and $5 bills to tip the performers and was sponsored by the Gender and Sexualities Alliance, an LGBTQ group “fighting for educational justice.”

Opponents of the HB 1116 argued it was “vague and overreaching” and would “expand state bureaucracy into content moderation,” according to the South Dakota Starlight. Critics questioned if the bill would extend to performances by university dance teams and “powderpuff football” games where male students dress as female cheerleaders.

“Everybody likes intellectual diversity until they disagree with it, and I’m afraid that’s what is happening here,” Republican State Sen. Tim Reed said, according to the South Dakota Starlight.

Reed and State Republican Rep. Chris Karr, who sponsored the bill, did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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