Drag show topic takes center stage before South Dakota House Committee

Febuary 12, 2024

PIERRE, S.D.- “Drag shows” again took center stage in a legislative committee Monday.

This time, lawmakers considered–and passed–House Bill 1178.

Republican Rep. Chris Karr from Sioux Falls, sponsor of the bill, said the bill merely “backstops” the Board of Regents should they be sued over prohibiting an on-campus performance they deem “obscene.”

If sued, the bill says the Attorney General will represent the Regents and the costs would be covered by the Extraordinary Litigation Fund.

The president of the South Dakota Student Federation, Michael Garofalo, representing students on the six state-owned campuses, spoke in opposition to the bill.

He said the bill centers on “prurient interest,” which his group understands to be drag shows.

Garofalo said he hoped legislators would “close the chapter” on the issue.

They didn’t.

On a party line vote, the House State Affairs Committee passed the bill 11- to-2.