On February 11, 2019, a bill (HB 1113) was introduced in the South Dakota legislature that would, if enacted, undermine the teaching of climate change in public schools. Under HB 1113, each local school board would be required to adopt a “code of ethics and professional responsibility” that, among other things, prevents public elementary and secondary school teachers from “[a]dvocat[ing] for any issue that is part of a political party platform at the national, state, or local level.” Science education groups and others have expressed concern that this could limit teachers’ ability to discuss climate change, which is dealt with in the federal Democratic party platform and a number of state platforms.
A separate resolution (HCR 1002) encouraging the adoption of codes in the above form was introduced in the South Dakota legislature in January 2019. Similar resolutions and bills have also been introduced in Arizona, Maine, and Virginia.
On February 11, 2019, the South Dakota House Education Committee voted to defer further consideration of HB 1113 until the 41st legislative day. As there are only 40 days in the legislative session, the vote effectively prevents any action being taken on HB 1113.