Legislation to create a moment of silence for prayer, reflection or meditation in South Dakota public schools has failed despite a push by Gov. Kristi Noem (R).

Noem vowed last year that she would call for legislation that “will allow us to pray in schools again.”

The bill that was eventually released would have allowed for a one-minute period of silence at the start of each school day. School employees would not have been permitted to interfere in how students chose to spend the time.

The Education Committee of the South Dakota House of Representatives voted 9-6 to kill the measure Jan. 21. Legislators said the bill was unnecessary, and some expressed concern that education officials had not been consulted.

State Rep. Mike Stevens (R-Yankton), who made the motion to reject the bill, called it an “answer looking for a problem.”

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