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.
- The title of House Bill 1012 is, “An Act to protect students from critical race theory.”
- Article 3 Section 21 of the South Dakota Constitution requires that the single subject of any law “shall be expressed in its title.”
- Outside its title, HB 1012 makes no reference to critical race theory.
- 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.
- HB 1012’s title does not express its subject.
- HB 1012 violates Article 3 Section 21 and thus is unconstitutional.
- 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.