SDDP Statement on Speaker Haugaard’s Comments on SB 117

During a committee hearing yesterday on SB 117, a bill to allow drivers’ license tests to be printed in Spanish, South Dakota House Speaker Steven Haugaard said, “I think the idea that we’re going to dilute our population with a second culture and encourage that second culture, it doesn’t advance our state at all.” The South Dakota Democratic Party released the following statement from Executive Director Sam Parkinson in response:

“We’re disappointed that SB 117 – a bill with bipartisan support in the legislature, and a bill with strong support from the business community in South Dakota – was defeated in committee yesterday. As disappointed as we are about the defeat of the bill, we’re even more disappointed with Speaker Haugaard’s remarks. We don’t believe they are reflective of the welcoming and inclusive spirit of the vast majority of South Dakotans, or of those in the State Legislature.

“Democrats believe that our diversity is our strength, and we work every day to advance our values of inclusion and opportunity. And we know that those are not only our party’s values, they’re South Dakota’s values and America’s values. Immigrants are making great contributions to our state’s economy and culture, and we will continue to support immigrant communities and propose and support legislation that supports those communities and their contributions to our state.”