SOUTH DAKOTA CODIFIED LAWS
THROUGH 1995 (1995)
1-27-20. English as common language – Use in public
records and public meetings.
The common language of the state is English. The common
language is designated as the language of any official public document
or record and any official public meeting.
1-27-21. Public document or record defined – Public
For purposes of §§1-27-20 to 1-27-26, inclusive,
an official public document or record is any document officially compiled,
published, or recorded by the state including deeds, publicly probated
wills, records of births, deaths, and marriages, and any other document
or record required to be kept open for public inspection pursuant to chapter
1-27. An official public meeting is any meeting or proceeding required
to be open to the public pursuant to chapter 1-25.
The provisions of §§1-27-20 to 1-27-26, inclusive,
do not apply:
(1) To instruction in foreign language courses;
(2) To instruction designed to aid students with limited
English proficiency in a timely transition and integration into the general
(3) To the conduct of international commerce, tourism,
and sporting events;
(4) When deemed to interfere with needs of the justice
(5) When the public safety, health, or emergency services
require the use of other languages. However, any such authorization for
the use of a language other than the common language other than printing
informational materials or publications for general distribution must be
approved in an open public meeting pursuant to chapter 1-25 by the governing
board or authority of the relevant state or municipal entity and the decision
shall be recorded in publicly available minutes;
(6) When expert testimony, witnesses, or speakers require
a language other than the common language. However, for purpose of deliberation,
decision making or record keeping, the official version of such testimony
or commentary shall be the officially translated English language version.
1-27-23. Costs of publication in other languages as
separate budget line item.
Pursuant to the exemptions outlined in §1-27-22,
all costs related to the preparation, translation, printing, and recording
of documents, records, brochures, pamphlets, flyers, or other informational
materials in languages other than the common language shall be delineated
as a separate budget line item in the agency, departmental, or office budget.
1-27-24. Effect of common language requirement on state
No person may be denied employment with the state or any
political subdivision of the state based solely upon that person's lack
of facility in a foreign language, except where related to bona fide job
needs reflected in the exemptions in §1-27-22.
1-27-25. Common language requirements no applicable
to private activities.
Sections 1-27-20 to 1-27-26, inclusive, may not be construed
in any way to infringe upon the rights of citizens under the state constitution
or the Constitution of the United States in the use of language in any
private activity. No agency or officer of the state nor any political subdivision
of the state may place any restrictions or requirements regarding language
usage in any business operating in the private sector other than official
documents, forms, submissions, or other communications directed to government
agencies and officers, which communications shall be in the common language
as recognized in §§1-27-20 to 1-27-26. inclusive.
1-27-26. Enforcement of common language requirements.
Any citizen of the state has standing to bring an action
against the state to enforce §§1-27-20 to 1-27-26, inclusive.
The circuit court has jurisdiction to hear and decide any such action brought
pursuant to §§1-27-20 to 1-27-26, inclusive.
Source: Charles V. Dale and Mark Gurevitz,
Legal Analysis of Proposals to Make English the Official Language of
the United States, Oct. 17, 1995, Washington, D.C.: Congressional