South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem was handed a tough rejection Friday when a Republican-controlled House committee gave her so-called school prayer bill a big thumbs down. The bill would require public schools to have a moment of silence at the start of the day. It was branded as a strategy to put “prayer back in schools” but lawmakers and education experts argued that schools already allow voluntary prayer and that Noem’s vision was too vague on what it required of teachers. School district leaders also complained that Noem didn’t consult them to craft the bill. The House Education committee tossed the bill on a nine to six vote Friday, but it could be revived if one-third of House members support it. “Maybe it’s me, but I view prayer as something that is personal and not performative,” Republican Rep. Will Mortenson said.
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