I posted yesterday about an awful bill proposed by South Dakota State Rep. Sue Peterson, a Republican, that would have punished people for altering the state seal.
As introduced, House Bill 1102 would require anyone using the symbol for any reason to use a “full and complete” version of it, including the words “Under God The People Rule.” That was a constitutional violation waiting to happen since artists and satirists (among others) would be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000, if they didn’t follow the rules.
The good news is that the outcry from civil rights groups and individuals was loud enough that Peterson amended her own bill.
The version that passed through committee earlier today includes these words (with the bold type being the new material):
Any replica, facsimile, or reproduction of the state seal that is greater than one-half inch in diameter and used for an official purpose or a for-profit commercial use shall be a representation of the full and complete seal and shall include the state motto “Under God The People Rule.” These requirements do not infringe upon or limit any artistic or satirical use of the seal.
So if you’re using the seal for government or business reasons, you have to use the “official” version of it. But everyone else is free to mess with it all they want.
Those changes mean there’s no longer a constitutional concern, so kudos to Peterson for fixing her mistake, though I still say there’s no reason any version of the seal should include the words “Under God The People Rule.”
(Thanks to Andrew for the link)