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HB 1111: Allow Anti-Science Yahoos to Refer School Mask Rules and Other Health and Safety Measures

When Republicans offer bills dealing with ballot measures, they’re usually trying to take away our right to put laws to a vote. After all, we’re a Republic Not a Democracy, right?

But a passel of Republicans are proposing to expand South Dakotans right of referendum. They’re motivated by anti-science/pro-pandemic numbskullery, not any real desire to empower the us people, but their bill invites a broader discussion of the legislative power the people rightfully reserve to themselves.

House Bill 1111, brought by Representative Aaron Aylward (R-6/Harrisburg),  would add resolutions “regarding a matter of health or safety that places requirements or limitations on students or employees of the district” to the small and eclectic class of school board decisions that South Dakotans can put to a local vote. School district residents would have 60 days after the adoption of any school health or safety requirement or limitation to collect petition signatures from 5% or more of their school district’s voters. A petition timely submitted with enough valid signatures would suspend the resolution in question and put it to a vote at the time of the next school board election. If a majority of voters at that election reject the resolution, the school board would have to wait a full year before considering “any resolution in contravention o the referral vote.”

Again, we know what Rep. Aylward and his right-wing co-sponsors (including Reps. Drew Dennert, Charlie Hoffman, Phil Jensen, Bethany Soye, and the dopiest legislator in Brown County, Kaleb Weis) are up to. They aren’t fighting for democracy: they’re fighting masks and vaccines and science and uppity teachers and health care professionals who dare put the lie to their piously professed and  commitment to life by pointing out that they could save real lives if they submitted to the minor inconvenience of following a few simple public health rules.

There’s a whole bunch to critique about the likely anti-science intent of Representative Aylward’s bill. But as a devoted election nerd, I want to focus on the issue of referendum.

Like the pro-death cultism they imbibe from their godheads Kristi and Donald, their House Bill 1111 exposes several inconsistencies in Republican thinking. HB 1111 allows local voters to suspend and refer to a public vote any school health and safety measures, even emergency measures (like swift responses to sudden outbreaks of new variants of infectious disease). Yet voters have no such power to refer statewide emergency legislation dealing with public health or safety.

Under HB 1111, health and safety measures would join school bond issues, property tax opt-outs, capital outlay certificates, school consolidationpre-Labor Day school start dates, participation in multi-district vo-tech centers, and the hiring of school gunslingers in the small class of school issues that citizens may refer to a vote. HB 1111 thus participates in the inescapable inconsistency of saying voters can have a direct say on some policies but not others. Why let voters delay emergency health measures for months (and consider that, in normal times, a health crisis could be over within a few weeks of taking sensible precautions) but not let them vote on curriculum decisions or sports eligibility rules? City and county referenda are not limited to such strangely specific topics; they simply must deal with legislative and not administrative decisions. We can refer any non-emergency state law, regardless of topic… and conversely, legislators can apply the emergency clause to almost any topic they see fit.

HB 1111 also applies an inconsistent petition deadline. Citizens referring municipal and county ordinances to a vote get twenty days from date of publication of the ordinance in question. Existing school referendum topics get 20 days to submit petitions—early start dates, capital outlays, bonds, opt-outs, and school gunslingers. However, statute allows 60 days to petition against multidistrict centers and 30 days after the last public hearing to refer consolidation to a vote. Why HB 1111 contributes to more divergence of petition deadlines is anyone’s guess.

If Representative Aylward were interested in real referendum reform and not just a sneaky way to empower local anti-science pandemic prolongers, he’d hoghouse House Bill 1111 to give school district voters the same power they have over city and county ordinances. A sensible hoghouse of HB 1111 would…

  1. eliminate these specific and somewhat arbitrary categories of referrable school board resolutions,
  2. eliminate the diverse petition deadlines,
  3. declare that citizens may refer any legislative decision of their school board to a public vote
  4. upon submission of a petition with the valid signatures of at least 5% of the registered voters in the district
  5. within 20 days of publication of the challenged resolution,
  6. with the election to be held within 60 days of validation of the petition.

Of course, if we really wanted to be consistent, we’d apply the constitutional standard of exempting emergency measures necessary for public health and safety from referral… and we’d include a strict definition of “emergency clause” that would stop legislators from abusing it to shield themselves from voters who would challenge some of their worse ideas. But that would probably get us into a debate over the single-subject rule.

35 Comments

  1. Donald Pay 2022-01-27

    Decisions of a school board are mostly administrative, quasi-executive or quasi-judicial in nature, and some (such as setting policy) that are legislative in nature. I’m sure that health matters that affect the health and potential death of staff and students would be considered mostly administrative or quasi-executive in nature and not subject to referral by any court.

  2. Arlo Blundt 2022-01-27

    Well…just more nonsense from Republicans…truly nonsense that does nor merit the attention of the legislature. The real problem with this nonsense is that it endangers people’s lives. A callous and empty headed piece of legislation.

  3. O 2022-01-27

    Does that mean we can refer actions to NOT have mask mandates? The requirement to work in an unmasked or unprotected worksite out to be open to referral as well?

  4. O 2022-01-27

    I hate to say it, but MAGAs need to be hit with some wrongful death suits for their complete disregard for safety. Where are the ambulance chasers when we need them?

  5. Mark Anderson 2022-01-28

    Killers in league with a killer virus. Why don’t they simply expand PACT to protect viruses.

  6. O 2022-01-28

    Mark, one interpretation of MAGA/Right/GOP action really could be that they endorse a right to life for the COVID virus. They seem to be doing everything in their power to keep it alive and well — even at the expense of the host. Their opposition to even the most basic protection against transfer mirrors their opposition to birth control. Let nature take its course?! (But not actual nature; that must be exploited and destroyed for profit.)

  7. Allen Jeris 2022-01-28

    Basic safety measures and wrongful death suits really? Wow, you guys just want government to have complete control of everything. Why stop there? Let’s force everyone in a space bubble and hunker down for another 2 years. O look, vaccine is doing a horrible job at controlling spread because it’s not very effective at preventing COVID. No big surprise there. Cheap repurposed drugs are showing good efficacy against COVID. Look at Fluvoxamine for 1 example. But no, let’s use that expensive garbage like Remdesivir that is trash. Try to do actual research and not get it from the news. Good job Aaron Aylward. Good bill!

  8. O 2022-01-28

    A wrongful death suit is private — not government. If you hav not taken proper steps to ensure I don’t catch your covid (either from you personally or from your place of employment), then you should bear the responsibility for those actions. GOP/Right is all about personal responsibility, correct?

    Public safety is a primary responsibility of government. You work under a false assumption that government ought to be demonized on face; I say that government is “We the people” and should be judged by its actions.

    Vaccines are NOT doing a horrible job of containing the spread; MAGA/Right/GOP are doing a horrible job of getting vaccinated. Where vaccines really shine is in their proven efficacy of preventing individuals from contracting COVID or in minimizing the severity of the infection. Hospitalization and death rates skew FAR toward the unvaccinated. Why wait to treat when we can prevent?

    “We have a moral imperative to be vaccinated.” “[Misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines is a human rights violation.” I am asserting my religious exemption to your foolishness.

  9. bearcreekbat 2022-01-28

    There is in fact more than one legal theory that goes along with O’s line of thinking about wrongful death lawsuits – “If you hav not taken proper steps to ensure I don’t catch your covid (either from you personally or from your place of employment), then you should bear the responsibility for those actions.”

    One theory is similar to the legal theory that supports a lawsuit against a bar or host that serves alcohol to a drunk, who later kills or injures someone while drunk driving. The idea is that this injury is a foreseeable consequence to serving a potential drunk driver. Similarly, a business that fails to take steps to mininize the danger of a known risk of a foreseeably dangerous Covid infection to customers could likewise be held accountable under basic tort law.

    A second theory is the “attractive nuisance doctrine.” If the owner of an attractive and inviting business or property that contains a known danger fails to take steps to adequately warn individuals, or in many cases fails to take adequate steps to mitigate the danger, when the owner can foresee that the individual will enter the propewrty and be exposed to the dangerous condition, then under this tort theory a jury may find that owner liable for the injury. Given the basic information about the danger of Covid transmission and the potential deadly effect of Covid it would seem a similar theory might be used to find a business or property owner liable for damag, if that business operated an attraction like a playground but failed to take steps to mitigate a known danger of a Covid infection by permitting, or perhaps even encouraging, individuals or employees known to be infected with Covid to mix with children or other customers.

    Obviously this is the bare bones of these theories and there a many complexities that come into play in wrongful death lawsuits relying on either or both these theories. And there are likely several other legal theories availble to that could be used to justify a wrongful death type lawsuit.
    Thus, the point is that there is in law a real possibility that a Covid victim or his or her family could successfully sue someone that knowingly fails to take reasonable steps to avoid spreading the Covid infection.

    Incidently, I wonder if Mr. Jeris would be willing to share his “actual research” and perhaps explain how he decided to trust those sources instead of the large amount of more widely accepted contradictory research. It seems a gamble to rely on outliers (if that is indeed what Mr. Jeris relies on), absent some solid veriable basis to conclude that the mainstream research is somehow mistaken merely because you either dislike the findings of the mainstream research, especially when you have no reliable means to check on the accuracy of the outlier research other than it might say exactly what you want to hear.

  10. Allen Jeris 2022-01-28

    Why stop at COVID? Let’s just do wrongful death suits for everything now. You act like people go around wanting to spread infection and kill people. You can be spreading virus around while you wear your mask. The next extremist can come up to you and say if your not wearing a hooded papr, your killing people.

    Vaccine-human rights violations? Dumbest thing I have ever heard. Should be a human right violation to not allow the use of ivermectin for COVID. You will have to look this article up yourself and read it. I’m not married to any drug but I want something that works and has a great safety profile. Well here it is. Beat me, if you can.

    Ivermectin Prophylaxis Used for COVID-19: A Citywide, Prospective, Observational Study of 223,128 Subjects Using Propensity Score Matching

    Lucy Kerr, Flavio A. Cadegiani , Fernando Baldi, Raysildo B. Lobo, Washington Luiz O. Assagra, Fernando Carlos Proença, Pierre Kory, Jennifer A. Hibberd, Juan J. Chamie-Quintero

    Published: January 15, 2022 (see history)
    DOI: 10.7759/cureus.21272
    Cite this article as: Kerr L, Cadegiani F A, Baldi F, et al. (January 15, 2022) Ivermectin Prophylaxis Used for COVID-19: A Citywide, Prospective, Observational Study of 223,128 Subjects Using Propensity Score Matching. Cureus 14(1): e21272. doi:10.7759/cureus.21272

    It’s actually very easy to find articles on the efficacy of ivermectin.

    While I continue to prevent people from getting sick and hospitalized. You keep doing your arm chair research and tell me how you would treat COVID.

  11. Porter Lansing 2022-01-28

    @AllenJeris – There’s little reward in arguing with someone of your mindset. It will suffice to say that Cureus is an invalid source that publishes case studies that aren’t peer reviewed or accepted in medicine and medical research, as a whole.

  12. mike from iowa 2022-01-28

    AJ, ever heard of college campus covid parties? Yes stoopid people want to infect others and they are likely magat voters.

  13. jerry 2022-01-28

    Medical marijuana is the best option to use to protect yourself against the covid, and especially, with being fully vaccinated, See reference below (side note), wear a mask as well, as that helps with that nagging feeling of someone watching you…

    Published 1.28.22 (today, so no history, only the facts ma’am)
    Curious ASAP

    Cannabis used as a sensibly, will keep you at home. Cannabis used sensibly will stimulate you to order out, thereby not only quenching your intake needs, but will offer the treated, a sense of well being. All of these will lead to a positive feeling or Positive Mental Attitude, which everyone knows, is not only cool, but important.

    You can find a whole lot of articles on this subject,

  14. Allen Jeris 2022-01-28

    Yeah Mike-those people are stupid. We can find extenuating factors for everything. What’s your point?

    Porter-your such a beta. If you would actually research the broad mechanism of actions of these repurposed drugs, you might be able to understand why we prescribe what we do.

    What about fluvoxamine and fluticasone. Ever spend hours researching those drugs for COVID? I sure have and it at least looks promising. But then, you go ahead and tell me how you treat your patients and what you tell them to use to help them feel better. Haven’t had to send a patient to the hospital yet. But go ahead, tell me what I don’t know from your arm chair.

  15. jerry 2022-01-28

    Allen, dude….You really need to get on the medical cannabis for your mental health… poor boy

  16. bearcreekbat 2022-01-29

    I appreciate Mr. Jeris providing enough information to find the study he apparently finds the most trustworthy. And standing alone, this study seems to provide support for Mr. Jeris’ beliefs. The remaining problem that Mr. Jeris has not addressed, however, is to help us understand why this particular study is a more trustworthy source of information than the following sources described in this AMA report, among others:

    . . . The American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists have joined the AMA to release a statement that strongly opposes the ordering, prescribing or dispensing of ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial.

    . . . The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a health advisory warning physicians and the public about the rise in prescriptions for the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin for use in the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. The CDC also cautioned about the risk of severe illness caused by ivermectin, which was seen in increased calls to poison centers.

    . . .
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) echoed the CDC’s warning against the use of ivermectin for prevention or treatment of COVID-19. That is because ivermectin is not approved or authorized by the FDA for COVID-19. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel determined that there is insufficient evidence and data to recommend ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19. This recommendation is consistent with the Infectious Disease Society of America’s Guidelines on the Treatment and Management of Patients with COVID-19, which speaks against the use of ivermectin in hospitalized patients and ambulatory persons with COVID-19, outside of the context of a clinical trial. There is also no evidence to suggest that ivermectin can be used to successfully prevent COVID-19 infection.

    “Clinical trials and observational studies to evaluate the use of ivermectin to prevent and treat COVID-19 in humans have yielded insufficient evidence for the NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel to recommend its use,” the CDC health alert explains. “Data from adequately sized, well-designed and well-conducted clinical trials are needed to provide more specific, evidence-based guidance on the role of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19.”

    https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/why-ivermectin-should-not-be-used-prevent-or-treat-covid-19

    The question remains: What particular facts or information does Mr. Jeris have access to and rely upon for his decision to reject the above CDC, FDA, NIH, American Pharmacists Association, and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists warnings about using invermectin as untrustworthy recommendations, but then accept the contrary report he referenced about the study in Brazil to be a more trustworthy and reliable enough source to make his Covid-19 prevention and treatment decisions?

  17. Allen Jeris 2022-01-29

    I listed 1 study. There are multiple. And with science or these research articles…nothing is fact or proof. It is one piece of information from a source that guides what might be effective. If it show modest efficacy and it is safe. Then sign me up. Nobody seems to want to discuss the possible benefits of Fluvoxamine when getting COVID. Better do quick google search.

  18. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-01-29

    Jeris, I don’t see multiple. BCB has you beat in this debate with a preponderance of sources and AMA authority.

    But the point here is that even if Jeris’s science is right, if school boards recognize that science as correct and provide ivermectin to kids with covid, HB 1111 would allow cranks like me who don’t believe in Jeris-science to circulate a petition, get our fellow-anti-Jeris cranks who disbelieve his science, to provide enough signatures, and we can stop cold the implementation of Jeris’s science to give kids horse pills to treat infections that we could have stopped in the first place with vaccines and masks but oh well you wouldn’t listen so screw you let’s let everyone die for the sake of our Trumpist redneck egos!

    Whew, thinking like Aylward and the other backers of HB 1111 can work one into a lather.

  19. mike from iowa 2022-01-29

    Cureus accepts paid advertising from Big Pharma so there is a question of independence. Cureus has a reputation of not doing reviews properly. It would seem to be a questionable source.

  20. mike from iowa 2022-01-29

    You act like people go around wanting to spread infection and kill people.

    Yeah Mike-those people are stupid. We can find extenuating factors for everything. What’s your point?

    My point was people do go around trying to get infected and/or infect others which proves part of your point. It isn’t vaccinated people and mask wearers doing these things.

  21. Allen Jeris 2022-01-29

    Ahmed, S., Karim, M.M., Ross, A.G., Hossain, M.S., Clemens, J.D., Sumiya, M.K., Phru, C.S., Rahman, M., Zaman, K., and Somani, J. (2020). A five day course of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 may reduce the duration of illness. International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

    One more source to chew on. Their are mixed research in almost everything. I’m not married to ivermectin, but it’s safe and has showed efficacy in multiple studies. If I have to include more sources I’ll have to wait to log in to my database at work.

    Do any of you have any experience prescribing medicine to sick patients? If so what do you guys do? Whachful waiting to see if they get really sick, then prescribe monoclonal’s that have shown decreased efficacy against omnicron?
    Even if they are vaccinated and very young, they don’t do many research studies on kids because there is “no money” to be made.

  22. Allen Jeris 2022-01-29

    American Journal of Therapeutics: July/August 2021 – Volume 28 – Issue 4 – p e434-e460
    doi: 10.1097/MJT.0000000000001402

  23. Porter Lansing 2022-01-29

    Allen Jeris, from who knows where in the world, is asserting there’s no reason for a vaccination because when you do contract Covid-19 there might be a medicine that also “might” save you from near death.
    – Are you willing to take the risk, by forgoing a nearly harmless vaccine?
    – Not me, Jeris.
    – What’s the benefit?

  24. bearcreekbat 2022-01-29

    I have no doubt that Mr. Jeris and I each can find numerous web sites with studies and posts that assert the viewpoint that ivermectin has been proven to be a drug that for some folks will prevent and remedy Covid 19. Some of these web site sources will be posted in good faith, some will be based on incompetent or inadequate research, some based on a financial interest, and unfortunately some simply designed to misinform and mislead in an effort to win political points or sew discord among the public.

    The matter that still has not been addressed by Mr. Jeris, however, is: What exactly leads Mr. Jeris to distrust and thereby reject the following organizations that have provided uniform and consistent advice against using ivermectin?

    – the CDC
    – the FDA,
    – the NIH
    – American Pharmacists Association
    – American Society of Health-System Pharmacists

    Does he have a reliable factual basis to believe that the individuals involved in this list of normally accepted resources are part of a national conspiracy to mislead the public?

    or perhaps

    Does he have a reliable factual basis to believe that these normally accepted resources are staffed by incompetent scientists and medical professionals that have all failed in their research efforts?

    or is there some other factual basis to wholehandedly reject this list of resources normally considered competent, honest and reliable?

    And whichever is the factual basis for his rejection of these normally accepted resources, does he also reject all other advice and recommendations that come from each these resources?

  25. jerry 2022-01-29

    Allen Jeris and John Dale, do you drink your own urine to complete your immunity stuff? Asking for a friend

  26. Porter Lansing 2022-01-30

    Good blog, today …

  27. Mark Anderson 2022-01-30

    Allen un-vaccinated people are five time more likely to catch covid, what’s your point?

  28. Mark Anderson 2022-01-30

    John Dale, natural immunity is the best, is a statement but not a fact with covid. A very simple fact, anyone can look it up.

  29. M 2022-01-30

    How do idiots like Aylward get elected? Did this man even graduate from high school? This is just pure stupidity. Does anyone care about our children, our grandchildren, our future? And does anyone remember why we send our best to public schools? No student is safe in this state with idiots in charge.

    With ideas like this when there are 100s more important things to do, Aylward deserves no paycheck for doing negative work, wasting time, and ruffling my feathers.

    Politicians are not health experts or medical advisors. I’m convinced they know not what their roles are. perhaps because something is missing. After all, like Cory wrote Hulse has no pulse and Noem has no heart. Now we have Aylward who has no brain.

  30. Bob Newland 2022-01-30

    You know the answer, M. In SoDak, a rusted potato on the “R” side of the ballot is, de facto, elected. (Noem, Ravnsborg, Weis, Dennert, Jensen, Deusch…. None of these things would have been elected by a conscious electorate.)

    Aylward filed some forms and got elected. Now he has his eyes on something statewide because he thinks, “Gee, they like me.”

  31. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-02-08

    In today’s personal contradiction file, I cheer the defeat of a measure intended to expand the people’s power to refer measures to a public vote. After a solid wall of opposition from the school lobby, House Local Government killed HB 1111 today on a 10–3 vote.

  32. DaveFN 2022-06-30

    Re: Fluvoxamine for COVID (published 20 May 2022)

    “The drug drew splashy headlines last October, when a study reported that it lowered hospitalization risk among COVID-19 outpatients. But debate on this and other fluvoxamine data has been swirling for some months now.

    Currently, National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines state there is insufficient evidence “to recommend either for or against the use of fluvoxamine for the treatment of COVID-19.” The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) recommends the drug only be considered for COVID-19 in the context of clinical trials.

    Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) turned down an emergency use authorization request, filed late last year by University of Minnesota infectious diseases researcher and physician David Boulware, that would have provided official backing for doctors to prescribe the drug as an early treatment for people infected with SARS-CoV-2.

    The agency “determined that the data are insufficient to conclude that fluvoxamine may be effective in the treatment of nonhospitalized patients with COVID-19 to prevent progression to severe disease and/or hospitalization,” it announced in a document widely shared online this week.”

    https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/whats-the-evidence-for-fluvoxamine-in-covid-19-70040

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