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HB 1012: Noem’s Fake CRT Ban Violates Constitution’s Title-Subject Rule

The House Education Committee has filed Governor Kristi Noem’s fake critical race theory ban as House Bill 1012. Now that this political sideshow is an actual bill, I can declare that House Bill 1012 is illegal.

  1. The title of House Bill 1012 is, “An Act to protect students from critical race theory.”
  2. Article 3 Section 21 of the South Dakota Constitution requires that the single subject of any law “shall be expressed in its title.”
  3. Outside its title, HB 1012 makes no reference to critical race theory.
  4. The “tenets” which HB 1012 forbids Regental schools, vo-tech schools, and state-accredited school districts from directing or compelling students to “affirm, adopt, or adhere to” are not components of critical race theory.
  5. HB 1012’s title does not express its subject.
  6. HB 1012 violates Article 3 Section 21 and thus is unconstitutional.
  7. HB 1012, if passed without amendment, will fail judicial scrutiny.

Rep. Will Mortenson (R-24/Pierre) has spent a lot of time advocating for strict application of Article 3 Section 21’s single-subject rule. Perhaps from his seat on House Education, Rep. Mortenson will advocate for an equally strict application of Article 3 Section 21’s title-subject rule. If he doesn’t, Governor Noem could face another embarrassing loss in court—doubly embarrassing, as she would be skewered on the same Constitutional section she used to thwart Amendment A in 2021.


  1. Mark Winegar 2022-01-05

    The Queen of Denial, aka Gov. Gnome, is not at all concerned about teaching our true history in our schools.

  2. grudznick 2022-01-05

    I bet you they probably table this law bill right off the bat.


  3. Mark Anderson 2022-01-05

    Well what can anyone say? Kristi was just on foxie news proclaiming that Biden is spending more money. Complaining like the school girl daughter who’s allowance is too little about him not being Merican. Attacking free markets because he’s trying to open markets for American farmers and ranchers. He should just take her allowance away.

  4. Porter Lansing 2022-01-05

    Teaching Critical Race Theory is a red herring. Teaching students how to discern between legitimate journalism and MAGA lying journalism is what’s vital. So many in SD believe the most outlandish things that they read, watch, and hear. They believe those things because they agree with the racism and white privilege (that’s called news) on the sewer hole publications and shows they choose to watch. Blond bimbos and fast talking fools easily grab their attention away from their ugly wives and stupid husbands. Then half educated politicians like Kristi Noem and Donald Trump tell them the same racist, white supremacist lies. It’s why the SD majority is a depleted gene pool of ignorance, wondering why the smartest kids in their family are long gone, never to return.
    Hey, Governor Noem. Can you ban teaching critical thinking to SD students, somehow? You damn well would, if you could, huh Kristikins?

  5. O 2022-01-05

    Don’t bills like this usually begin by defining the terms, in this case, CRT, that the act shall deal with? I was actually looking forward to the Governor setting straight what this boogieman term means from her point of view.

  6. jerry 2022-01-05

    President Joe Biden will speak tomorrow about the Constitution and how trump and his minions like (NOem), have done to try to destroy it. Here is a taste from Jen Psaki (don’t mess with Jen), press secretary to the White House. Tomorrow is the Epiphany and boy howdy, will it ever be in more ways than one.

    “”The President is going to speak to the truth of what happened – not the lies that some have spread since – and the peril posed to the rule of law and our system of democratic governance. He will also speak to the work we still need to do to secure and strengthen our democracy and our institutions; to reject the hatred and lies we saw on January 6th; and to unite our country. I’d also note that President Biden has been clear eyed about the threat the former president represents and how the former president constantly works to undermine basic American values and rule of law.
    “President Biden has, of course, spoken repeatedly about how the former president has abused his office, undermined the Constitution, and ignored his oath to the American people in an effort to amass more power for himself and his allies. He sees January 6th as a tragic culmination of what those four years under president Trump did to our country. And they reflected the importance to the President of winning the battle for the soul of our nation.

    “So just as you heard him say on January 6th of last year, I would expect that President Biden will lay out the significance of what happened at the Capitol, and the singular responsibility president Trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw. And he will forcibly push back on the lies spread by the former president in an attempt to mislead the American people and his own supporters, as well as distract from his role in what happened. He will, of course speak to the moment, to the importance in history of the peaceful transfer of power, of what we need to do to protect our own democracy and be forward looking. But he will also reflect on the role his predecessor had.”

    Tune in tomorrow for the “It’s about damn time”

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-01-06

    O, yes, this bill would benefit immensely from some codified definitions. When the state tries to ban certain speech, it must make absolutely clear what speech it is banning. Even if legislators don’t engage on the very straightforward but technical question of the title-subject rule that Noem is violating, they should be worried that defenders of the First Amendment and academic freedom will follow up hard with legal arguments that this bill is vague and thus overbroad, not narrowly targeted to serve a compelling state interest.

    This bill should not even get a debate until it clearly defines its subject and allows everyone voting on the bill to understand exactly what they are voting on.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-01-06

    Grudz, what makes you think they will immediately table a bill the Governor has touted as a pillar of her 2022 (read: 2024) agenda? Do you think legislators will submit a clearer replacement bill? Do you think legislators are looking to give the Governor a black eye?

  9. O 2022-01-06

    I also appreciate the contradiction between the wording of Section 1, subsections 2 and 3 of this bill and how this Governor(and her MAGA crew) hopes to treat transgender students in other legislative action.

  10. John 2022-01-06

    NOem could not write legislation any better when a US representative. The single bill she passed there has yet to be fully implemented because it’s poorly written, giving wasteful agencies (Forest Service) unlimited time to dither and dally over administrivia.

  11. 96Tears 2022-01-06

    The Snow Queen chomped onto more than she could chew with this one. Who would be for it when it arrives so badly flawed? And it will draw a lot of national attention.

    Think who would coalesce against it, including her enemies in the GOP caucus. The racist die-hards will view it as powder puffery. The few Democrats that are left in Pierre will grab the megaphone to expose Noem as a racist and embarrassingly ignorant on all things Critical Race Theory (I suspect she doesn’t know how to spell CRT). The few reasonable Republicans that are left in Pierre will wish it disappears quietly.

    This leaves her sycophant legislators in the Republican caucus to stand naked with Noem’s blunder bill. Are they willing to pay the price of ridicule because The Snow Queen wants a cheap, political talking point for her ego trip to run in 2024? Holding hearings to make this a clearer bill would violate a cardinal rule of politics: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

  12. buckobear 2022-01-06

    Why not have a bill requiring Pi to equal 3.0?

  13. Mark Anderson 2022-01-06

    Well the blonde bimbo from Rapid and Kristi have much in common. I could write for them. Really it’s that easy.

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