Civics is apparently losing traction as a campaign issue for Governor Kristi Noem. Seeing that Noem’s big civics test has been watered down to ten questions with home schoolers exempted, the House has completely stripped the college civics quiz from its “intellectual diversity” bill.
House Bill 1087 started with twelve sections, ten of which imposed all sorts of redundant bureaucracy on our public universities, all redundant with the First Amendment. Then onto this nationwide coordinated right-wing attack on the integrity of higher education, HB 1087 tacked on two completely unrelated and contradictory sections on civics education: Section 11 was going to require every public university student to take three credits of U.S. history and three credits of U.S. government, and Section 12 was going to require those students to score 85% on a civics test to get their diplomas.
Someone must have realized that those civics requirements made HB 1087 a multiple-subject bill. Nothing in the title—”An Act to promote intellectual diversity at certain institutions of higher education”—directly encompasses the idea of making every student take the same classes and the same test. And Article 3 Section 21 says, “No law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.”
Right after seeing Noem’s high school civics test requirement almost fail, Rep. Sue Peterson (R-13/Sioux Falls) moved last week to hoghouse HB 1087. The conservative grandstanding against all those liberal indoctrinators at our universities remains, but the civics requirements are gone. Rep. Peterson said that the civics reqs “We feel like that’s probably dealt with better in another place. We still think that’s a good idea, but probably maybe a separate subject.”
Translation #1: Governor Noem’s civics push makes it harder for us to pass the real wacky-right bills we’re more interested in, so we’re dropping that poison pill.
Translation #2: Heidelberger’s right, the civics requirements made HB 1087 an illegal multi-subject bill… but watch for a hoghouse later!