Hazing bill heads to House

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Hazing bill heads to House

A bill putting the act of hazing on the books in South Dakota saw its way through the Senate


Senate Bill 72, which establishes the crime of hazing and provides a penalty therefor, passed the Senate Judiciary committee on a 7-0 vote and the full Senate by 19-16 margin.


The bill defines hazing as “when, during a student’s initiation or admission into any organization operating in connection with a school, college, or university, the person engages in conduct involving forced activity that endangers the physical health or safety of the student or that subjects the student to extreme mental stress.”


Sen. Michael Rohl, the bill’s prime sponsor, said it’s important the state defines “in any capacity…that institutionalized bullying” is not acceptable. While much of the discussion did center around the actions of individuals in college, Sen. Rohl noted it “also protects high school students.”


ASBSD is monitoring the bill.


SB 72 sets three levels of penalties with an individual “recklessly” engaging in hazing guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor, a person who “commits an intentional act of hazing” guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and someone who “maliciously engages in hazing” that “causes serious bodily injury” guilty of a Class 6 felony.


Sen. David Johnson told fellow Senators during the floor debate on the bill it “contributes to the right of the ever disappearing characteristic…called personal responsibility.”


While Sen. David Wheeler countered the bill would “send a message to students that if you know you’re doing things that are dangerous, just knock it off.”


The bill crosses the Capitol halls to the House where it awaits committee assignment.


For updates on SB 72, check the ASBSD Blog and Billtracker page.


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