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HB 1251 Cuts Board of Regents from Nine to Five, Bans Campus-Town Members

A crew of anti-education Mugwumps wants to help Governor Kristi Noem eliminate government bloat by shrinking the Board of Regents.

House Bill 1251, brought by Rapid City conservative Republican Representative Tina Mullaly, would kick all nine people off the Board of Regents this July 1 and empower the Governor to appoint five Regents. HB 1251 would cut terms on the Board of Regents from six years to three and toughen the current limit on two consecutive terms to require a member to sit out for three years instead of just two before the Governor could reappoint that member to the Regents.

And in a real kicker, HB 1251 adopts a proposal that appears in the famous Gibb report of 1970, a document that has been circulating this Session in conversations about Senator Ryan Maher’s proposal to study consolidating some campus administration. HB 1251 would forbid residents of counties in which Regental institutions are located from serving as Regents. That restriction would boot Randy Scheafer, Jim Thares, Jim Morgan from the Regental ranks. It would also make having a student Regent complicated, since only students who maintain residence outside of their campus county could serve.

HB 1251 just hit the hopper yesterday. It awaits assignment to committee.


  1. David Newquist 2020-02-07 13:00

    The South Dakota Board of Regents has been distinguished for the lack of experience and knowledge its members have about the purpose and function of higher education. It usually contains one token member with some association with post-secondary educations. Its members have, however, grasped the imperative of protecting ignorance in the public mind, so that no one in the state need feel threatened by such subversive things such as intelligence and knowledge.

    Apparently, that threat has been raised, as education is the focus of much state legislation to control education so that it does not endanger the tranquility of dull minds and laggard spirits. There may be many adjustments made to vitalize and improve education, but can one find any cogent rationale behind this bill?

    Rather, it sounds an alarm bell to the bright young people of the state to re-energize a good, old South Dakota tradition: get out of here while you can.

  2. Porter Lansing 2020-02-07 13:22

    What Newq said …

  3. David Newquist 2020-02-07 13:27

    South Dakotans seem to regard education as a strain of coronavirus.

  4. Donald Pay 2020-02-07 15:14

    I’m not sure this is an anti-education bill as much as it is a “South Dakota is toast” bill. I think HB 1251 is profound in its pessimism regarding where South Dakota is heading. This bill has a clear understanding that the state can’t keep up with modern times. Rather than do the things necessary to become a modern state, this bill throws in the towel and retreats to the 19th century.

    I think the university system idea is worth studying again. It certainly worked out OK in Wisconsin, but that happened in the late 60s and early 70s, when there was a boom in student numbers and campus building projects. Now it might be a way to provide efficiency with declining enrollments. So a study of a unified system would be a good idea and along with that you can study whether any changes need to be made in governance.

  5. mike from iowa 2020-02-07 15:21

    What? South Dakota didn’t have a Betsy DeVos billionaire mindless bimbo for hire?

  6. Debbo 2020-02-07 16:00

    I bow down to the eloquence of Dr. Newquist.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-02-08 10:13

    Shrinking the Board of Regents isn’t in itself an anti-education measure. I don’t know if nine Regents govern the universities any better than five would. But the sponsors clearly want the Regents to have less power, which I suspect is an outgrowth of their desire to see public universities in general receive less support and have less influence in our culture.

  8. Debbo 2020-02-08 17:56

    This non sequitor only tangentially fits here, but I’m adding it because I know there are punctuation nerds on this blog.

    “December 2019 saw the demise of the Apostrophe Protection Society.”
    This 1300 word essay is all about punctuation so you might enjoy it.

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