Governor Kristi Noem got to sign the “guns in your pants without permission” bill yesterday, thus dedicating her first big signing ceremony to a lie (concealed weapons are not “Constitutional carry“—Justice Scalia said the Second Amendment doesn’t cover hidden weapons).
What an honor to serve South Dakota. Today, I signed my first bill into law. This is just the beginning. We have a lot to get done, but I’ve never been afraid of hard work. pic.twitter.com/qvfRbEA40a
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) January 31, 2019
But while she was busy choosing trumpet music to play over her first bill signature and hiring a videographer to record her dramatic walk from her office to the temporary Rotunda desk, was she letting her civics education agenda slip? She hired her interim Education Secretary Ben Jones to work specifically on forcing kids to study more civics. She heralded civics education in her opening address to the Legislature. But the same day that the House sent the permitless concealed carry bill, SB 47, to her desk, the House also killed plank #1 in the civics agenda, House Bill 1051, Rep. Fred Deutsch’s silly civics stickers bill.
Plank #2, Noem’s civics graduation test, HB 1066, hit the rocks in House Education Monday, with Kristi’s dear friends the home schoolers and Christian Home Educators testifying against it. The chair deferred HB 1066 to Wednesday and again to next Wednesday, February 6.
Plank #3, Senator Jim Bolin’s mandate of another half-credit of civics for graduation, SB 52, creaked out of Senate Education last week on a 4–2 vote in the face of strong opposition from the K-12 schools. SB 52 is now stalled in the Senate. (Funny that Senator Kris Langer is worried about the fiscal impact of $5,500 worth of drug tests but hasn’t moved to send this bill to Appropriations to analyze the cost of requiring 150 school districts to run 130,000 kids through a new civics course.)
Dang, maybe Governor Noem needs to call the Senate and House leadership into her office and tell them to keep her better informed on the progress of her bills. Or maybe, if Governor Noem really means what she says about improving civic engagement, she needs to spend less time on bill-signing pageantry and more time on her own civic engagement to press her professed policy priorities.