Dakota Rural Action
Weekly Legislative Update
Session Week Three
January 28, 2022

To Kill a Bill

Throughout the legislative session there are certain important deadlines that drive the schedule and pace at the capital. This week we hit an important deadline – the last day for unlimited bill introductions. In SD, legislators are allowed to introduce as many bills as they’d like up until a certain point, and then have a short period where they are allowed three more bills. Because of this, we saw hundreds of bills drop this week! There are, as of this writing, 460 House or Senate bills, resolutions, and joint or concurrent commemorations. 

Many of these have already been ‘killed’ in committee – including a few bills we opposed. These included a bill that would have increased the annual fee on electric vehicles by 400%, from $50 to $250. Another bill was for a $2,500,000 appropriation for a controversial shooting range in Meade County, northeast of Rapid City. One of our members is the landowner whose fence runs along the backside of the proposed location. There were so many landowners that showed up to voice their concerns about the project that in a somewhat surprising vote the bill was “sent to the 41st day.”

After public testimony from proponents and opponents (and this year ‘neutral’ testimony is allowed, too), the chair of a committee moves into a time where committee members share discussion and can make motions. “I motion to send this bill to the 41st day” is used by legislators as an official motion when they want to kill a bill, because the South Dakota Constitution requires the legislative session to last no more than 40 days. I find the phrase quite amusing, and can now be found using it in all manners of situations!

Bill Tracking

A herd of "beltie" cows in a green field stare down the photographer

There are multiple energy bills related to the integration of solar energy projects and electric vehicle infrastructure/policy that we are supporting (SB 36, SB 80, HB 1081). Among the hundreds of bills dropped this week were multiple related to voter registration and policy. Some seem clearly positive bills (SB 69, HB 1140), while we are investigating others to determine what their effect would actually be (SB 123, SB 124).

A promising agriculture bill was introduced this week that seeks to protect landowners from liability who have integrated agritourism into their operations (SB 135). Another bill seeks to protect producers from mandatory livestock identification tags – a cause we strongly support (HB 1096). If you run livestock and would be interested in testifying on this bill, please reach out to Chase to be kept informed on its development. 

We are happy to see a new bill restricting the use of cyanide in the mining of gold and silver (HB 1150). There is also a bill seeking $10,000,000 to conduct a study on the feasibility of piping water from the Missouri River to Rapid City (SB 85). The issue of a growing population center will require real solutions in the future, yet the potential for unintended consequences on a project of this magnitude are significant. Therefore we do support taking the time and money to do a comprehensive study of this idea before it would move forward.

Legislative Committee Watching for Several Bills

There are currently around 25 bills that DRA is watching closely as supporters, opponents, or interested from the sidelines. Our lobbying efforts rely greatly upon our members’ expertise, insights, and engagement testifying in Pierre.  A group of interested members from across the state meet every Thursday evening by zoom at 6:30pm CT (5:30pm MT) to talk through bills we’re watching, negotiations we’re involved in, and strategy on various issues. If you are interested in learning more about our work in Pierre, or want to share your expertise and thoughts on topics like energy, water rights, agricultural practices and policy, etc. – consider joining the Legislative Committee!

Contact Lobbyist Chase Jensen at chase@dakotarural.org or call (605) 697-5204 x250 with questions or to serve on the legislative committee.

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