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Why are state lawmakers voting on the Pledge?

by Greg Belfrage

South Dakota legislators are busy trampling all over local control this session.

The latest intrusion into local government occurred yesterday when a bill mandating that every school should say the Pledge daily passed a House committee.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Hal Wick (R-Sioux Falls) in response to a decision by the Sioux Falls School Board recently. The board had voted not to require high school students to say the Pledge daily, but changed its mind after surveying parents in the district.

Yet, here comes Rep. Wick with bill in hand to address an issue that has already solved itself.

The House did the very same thing last week when it passed a red light camera ban. That bill was in response to a red light cam erected in Sioux Falls. However, the camera hasn't even been in operation for four years! A judge ruled it violated state laws. 

However, it seems nothing will stop state lawmakers from jumping in headlong with solutions to problems that don't exist.

Nobody testified against the Pledge requirement during the committee debate. 

Wade Pogany of the Associated School Boards of South Dakota supported the measure. "Certain things more important than local control, and this is one of them," Pogany said.

Mule muffins.

I'm sure Pogany didn't wish to be on the record opposing the bill after seeing the national firestorm that erupted over the decision in Sioux Falls. Nobody wants to be seen opposing the Pledge, the flag or veterans.

However, the truth is that even some state veterans are opposed to the proposed law.

Denny Brenden, the state adjutant of the South Dakota American Legion, tells KELO that he's questioning the legislature's involvement. 

Read more: Veterans group has problems with state mandated Pledge

Brenden says every child in South Dakota should have the opportunity to recite the Pledge, but says that decision should be left up to local districts and not be mandated by the legislature.

Brenden is absolutely right. I fully support the Pledge and believe it should be taught and recited in our schools daily. However, that's a decision best left to local school boards and their communities.

Lawmakers just can't resist the temptation to stand up and thump their chests when they disagree with local government decisions.

Frankly, I'm tired of it. It's a horrible, self-serving way to govern.

Greg Belfrage (@belfrageshow) is heard 6am-9am on KELO 1320 AM and 107.9 FM. Greg can be contacted at greg.belfrage@mwcradio.com.