Riot Booster 2.0 Passes House–Heads to Senate Judiciary Tuesday

A few of our amazing members and staff who participated in DRA Citizen Lobby Day 2020

It’s time to turn out. Riot Booster 2.0 will be heard in Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday evening, March 3rd at 7pm CT in Room 414 of the Capitol. You can contact Senate Judiciary Committee members to express your opposition to the bill–check the LRC website for contacts or use your DRA Legislative Guide. You can also turn out to help pack the room and show legislators that South Dakotans do not want their First Amendment rights curtailed.

Our position: Riot and Incitement to Riot are illegal now, and will continue to be illegal once this bill is defeated. Attempting to create a new class of crime related to protest and free speech creates a chilling effect on exercise of constitutionally guaranteed freedoms when no one seems to clearly understand what constitutes ‘riot boosting.’ Additionally, this bill pressures law enforcement to make false “riot” arrests, clogging up court systems and jails and increasing costs that will be born by the taxpayers of this state, just as we witnessed in North Dakota.

Dakota Rural Action and our allies will be working to make sure those who are interested in attending are able to cover costs of meals, transportation, and lodging. If you need help, please contact our office at (605) 697-5204.

SB 157–County Zoning Bill Moves to House State Affairs

Senate Bill 157 is a disastrous bill that strikes at the heart of local control and county’s authority and responsibility to make those decisions that stand to most directly impact the health, safety, and welfare of their own residents. It also cuts the public out of the decision-making process that stands to impact them directly, and sets up a “pay to play” system where only the wealthiest dare to contest a decision.

There has been a lot of media attention on Senate Bill 157 and what it does. The Governor, industry, and some legislators say it’s a “simple” bill that directs counties to “get their ordinances in order.” Dakota Rural Action, many county commissioners, farmers, ranchers, and rural residents say it takes away local control.

So, how on earth do you sort through the hype? We think the easiest way to do that is simply to READ THE BILL. The link above takes you to the SD Legislative Research Council’s website. Scroll down the page to “bill text versions” and click on the latest version.

Here are some specific problems with SB 157 [Bill Sections indicated in brackets]:

  • SB 157 undermines local control in the following specific ways: 
    • Removes the supermajority vote option for conditional use permits (currently counties have option of simple or supermajority) and forces a simple majority of members present vote on permits. [Section Two & Six]
    • Nullifies counties’ ability to set their own expiration date for permits issued and sets in place an across-the-board standard of two years following the conclusion of an appeal–no matter how long that appeal process takes. [Section Fifteen]
  • SB 157 cuts people out of the democratic process in the following specific ways
    • Entices counties to use a “special permitted use” process that is administratively approved–no public notice or hearing–undermining due process rights and increasing likelihood of strife among neighbors [Sections Three & Four]
    • Severely limits those who have standing to file an appeal–beyond what the courts have previously ruled [Section One]
    • Subjects those who do appeal to costs of preparing transcripts, which can run into the thousands of dollars [Section Eleven]
    • Subjects those who appeal and lose to paying attorneys fees of the winner (though if an appealing party wins, the county is exempt from paying) [Section Fourteen]

Take Action on SB 157 by calling your State Representatives at (605) 773-3851 or email them to tell them to vote NO on this bad bill. Who are your State Reps? Click HERE to find out or check your DRA Legislative Guide.

Also, give to DRA’s Legislative Fund to help with costs of getting the word out. Our statewide radio ad campaign begins today, and YOUR contribution could help us get a few more messages out on the airwaves!

Perpetual Easement-Ending Bill Killed on House Floor

House Bill 1238 which would have allowed modification of a perpetual conservation easement “after the death of the person who granted the easement.” The initial line-up of opponents for Rep. Steven McCleerey’s bill included the SD Dept of Transportation, Ducks Unlimited, SD State Bar Association, SD Waterfowl Association, and a number of landowners (including DRA members) representing themselves. The bill was deferred to the following week, survived committee with an amendment, and was amended further on the House floor, but ultimately failed on a do-pass motion. See how Representatives voted HERE.

Citizen Lobby Day Recap

Over a dozen members traveled to Pierre to participate in DRA’s Citizen Lobby Day–most of whom had never lobbied before! First-timers admitted there was a lot of nervousness, but that dispelled as they watched other, more seasoned members get into the action, talking to legislators and sharing their views on bills and issues. Monday evening’s SoDak Grown Mixer brought over two dozen legislators to Drifters for great conversation and delicious hors d’oeuvres made from locally-sourced ingredients.

Didn’t make it to Citizen Lobby Day? There’s still time to get to Pierre in these last two weeks of session. Make plans to attend Tuesday evening’s hearing on HB 1117 (Riot Booster) or the early morning House State Affairs hearing on SB 157–the county zoning bill (not yet scheduled–we’ll keep you posted!).

Let us know you’re coming! Contact DRA Lobbyist Rebecca Terk at (605) 697-5204 x260 or email

Thank you for Taking Action!