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SD House: School days to start with pledge

PIERRE — South Dakota schools would have to start each class day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag under legislation that won approval Thursday from the state House of Representatives.

The vote was 70-0. HB 1150 now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

The legislation requires that time be reserved at the start of each school day for the pledge. Students aren’t required to recite it, however.

“They just have to be respectful of those that are,” Rep. Hal Wick, R-Sioux Falls, said. He is the bill’s prime sponsor.

South Dakota would become the 40th state, according to Wick. He said the pledge will take about 15 seconds and the legislation is patterned after the Oregon law that received clearance from the American Civil Liberties Union.

“We need to have our children understand and know where those freedoms come from,” Wick said.

While the vote was unanimous, the opinions weren’t. Rep. Kristin Conzet, R-Rapid City, said she would vote for the requirement but questioned the need for it. She indicated it was a response to a dispute in Sioux Falls.

“I have to ask: Why are we doing this on the state level because of one school district?” Conzet said.

Rep. Tona Rozum, R-Mitchell, agreed with Conzet. Rozum wondered why legislators who believe in small government would take the step.