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Statewide Pledge of Allegiance bill passes

PIERRE -- A requirement that South Dakota schools give students time each day to salute the U.S. flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance won final legislative approval Tuesday.

Senators voted 35-0 for the measure. The House of Representatives had approved it 70-0 two weeks ago.

Next stop is the desk of Gov. Dennis Daugaard for his decision whether to sign it into law.

Students would be allowed to not participate but would be required to maintain "a respectful silence" during the salute.

Sen. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center, said it was "my privilege" to offer HB 1150.

Rhoden said he initially thought it would be more appropriate as a resolution but then saw more value in passing a law.

"And the school districts agree, by the way," he said.

Sen. David Omdahl, R-Sioux Falls, said students would learn loyalty. "It's like going to church," Omdahl said. "As you grow older, you expand on that."

The bill's prime sponsor was Rep. Hal Wick, R-Sioux Falls.