22.76.16 97th Legislative Session 0

2022 South Dakota Legislature

House Bill 1258


This bill has been extensively amended (hoghoused) and may no longer be

consistent with the original intention of the sponsor.

Introduced by: Representative Gosch

An Act to protect an individual's conscience from entities requiring the COVID-19 vaccine.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of South Dakota:

Section 1. This Act shall be referred to as the COVID-19 Vaccine Freedom of Conscience Act.

Section 2. That a NEW SECTION be added to title 34:

For the purpose of this Act, the term, conscience, means a person’s inner conviction of what is right or wrong in the person's conduct.

Section 3. That a NEW SECTION be added to title 34:

A person has the right to be exempt from any COVID-19 vaccination mandate, requirement, obligation, or demand on the basis that receiving a COVID-19 vaccination violates the person's conscience. A person may exercise the right to be exempt under this Act orally or in writing.

Section 4. That a NEW SECTION be added to title 34:

No person may be subjected to any disciplinary action; being terminated, demoted, or losing employment status in any way; loss of student status, including status in a particular study program; nor may any person be denied access to any business premises as a result of the person's decision to decline to receive a COVID-19 vaccination on the basis of conscience.

Section 5. That a NEW SECTION be added to title 34:

Any entity or agent of any entity that mandates or requires any person to receive a COVID-19 vaccination or conditions any person's job or student status upon receiving a COVID-19 vaccination must inform the person of the right to the conscience exemption under this Act.

Section 6. That a NEW SECTION be added to title 34:

A civil action for damages or injunctive relief, or both, may be brought by any person for any violation of any provision of this Act. A person aggrieved by any violation of this Act who commences a civil action is entitled, upon the finding of a violation, to recover threefold the actual damages sustained, along with the costs of the action and reasonable attorney's fees.

Section 7. That a NEW SECTION be added to title 34:

A health care facility, as defined in § 34-12-1.1, is exempt from this Act during any period of time that compliance would result in a violation of regulations issued by the centers for medicare and medicaid services or the centers for disease control and prevention.

Section 8. That a NEW SECTION be added to title 34:

This Act does not:

(1) Apply to the South Dakota National Guard; and

(2) Prevent the South Dakota National Guard from requiring a COVID-19 immunization in compliance with a valid and lawful command order that applies to a servicemember who may be subject to federal activation.

Underscores indicate new language.

Overstrikes indicate deleted language.