South Dakota Legislative Update - Feb. 6, 2024


Today is Day 19 of South Dakota’s 38-day legislative session, which will conclude March 25. The last day for bill introductions was Feb. 1. Bills must pass out of their house of origin by Feb. 21, which is known as Crossover Day. All bills must pass out of both houses by March 4 (Legislative Day 34).  

We welcome your input. Feel free to be in touch about these or any other bills you feel are important to rural communities. I can be reached at or 605.240.0039.

Let your voice be known

It is critical that legislators hear from the people they represent. We encourage you to get involved in the legislative process by communicating with elected officials about the issues you care about. If you don’t know who your legislators are, you can find them at this link.

Most testifying is done in person. Currently, it is up to each committee to decide whether or not to allow remote testimony. To find out if you can remotely testify on a bill directly, contact the committee that has been assigned to the bill. Email addresses can be found here by clicking on the specific committee.

Below are the bills we are monitoring so far.

Energy and environment

House Bill (HB) 1200 - Neutral: This bill, brought by the Committee on State Affairs, would increase the minimum fee required with an application for construction of an energy conversion and transmission facility, including wind, solar, transmission, and carbon pipelines. HB 1200 was brought to committee after the failure of HB 1052, which was heard during the first week of session. HB 1200 is the result of an agreement between the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the South Dakota Electric Utilities Companies to ensure that energy docket costs are paid by the energy company and not the PUC, and ultimately, ratepayers. HB 1200 serves as a compromise, increasing the minimum fee from $8,000 to $20,000 but retaining language that sets a cap on maximum fee amounts.

HB 1200 was heard on Feb. 2 in the House State Affairs committee and passed 13-0; it now moves to the House floor.

HB 1034 - Support: This bill, brought at the request of the PUC, would require hydrogen pipelines to be permitted by the PUC. Currently, the state does not have a statute governing hydrogen pipelines. This bill would bring permitting authority under the PUC, similar to oil and carbon pipelines.

HB 1034 was heard in the House Commerce and Energy Committee on Jan. 12. It was noted by the Public Utilities Commission that the newly created Heartland Hydrogen Hub, a project of the U.S. Department of Energy, includes the state of South Dakota. The PUC stated that while there are no current hydrogen pipeline applications this is an emerging field and the state needs to have a system in place to govern the permitting process. The bill passed the committee 13-0, the House floor 66-3 on Jan. 16, and the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee 5-3 on Jan. 30. It now moves to the House floor.

HB 1185 - Support: This bill, brought by Rep. Will Mortenson, would amend provisions regarding entry on private property for examination and survey. HB 1185 relates to eminent domain and statutes governing energy conversion and transmission facilities that require a siting permit. Current law states that, after having filed a siting permit with the PUC, anyone seeking to conduct a survey or examination must give the landowner or tenant 30 days written notice and make a payment to the owner. The amendment adds that this notice must also include the anticipated date and duration of entry, the name and contact information of the person who will be entering the property, and a description of the type and location of property to be surveyed. It also specifies a compensation amount of $500.

HB 1185 was heard in the House Commerce and Energy committee on Feb. 5 and passed 11-1. Proponents included Farm Bureau, South Dakota Corn Growers, South Dakota Ethanol Producers Association, South Dakota Soybean Association, South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, and landowners. Opponents included Summit Carbon Solutions and the South Dakota Electric Utilities Companies. It now moves to the House floor.

Economic and community development

HB 1041 - Support: This bill, brought by Rep. Tyler Tordsen, modifies the definition of public infrastructure to allow a federally recognized Indian tribe to be eligible for housing infrastructure grants and loans. HB 1041 is a follow-up bill related to the passage of a 2023 bill that appropriated $200 million in state and American Rescue Plan Act funds toward housing infrastructure loans and grants, with 70% of funds going to towns with populations under 50,000. According to the bill sponsor, during the rule-making process a definition was included that unintentionally made tribes ineligible for the program. This bill would ensure tribes were included.

HB 1041 was heard in the House State Affairs committee on Jan. 12 and passed 12-1. It passed the House floor 52-17 on Jan. 16, the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee 8-1 on Jan. 23, and the Senate 29-2 on Jan. 24. It was signed by the Governor on Feb. 1.

SB 125 - Support: This bill, brought by Sen. Tim Reed, requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) to conduct a state-wide study on child care. SB 125 would appropriate $250,000 to DSS for the purpose of conducting a study during the 2024 interim. This study would analyze differences in the cost of child care across the state, impacts of inflation and population growth on child care providers, and compensation and benefits for child care workers. It would also require the development of a cost estimate model of payment for the child care assistance program.

SB 125 has been referred to the Joint Committee on Appropriations. A hearing date has not yet been set.

Upcoming legislative forums

Aberdeen Area Cracker Barrels, Feb. 10 and Feb. 27, hosted by the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce

Rapid City Area Cracker Barrels, Feb. 17 and March 2, hosted by Elevate Rapid City

District 17 Legislative Coffee, Feb. 10, hosted by the Vermillion Area Chamber & Development Company and Governmental Affairs Committee

District 6, 12, and 13 Legislative Coffee, Feb. 10, hosted by Augustana University 

District 9, 11, and 15 Legislative Coffee, Feb. 17, hosted by Augustana University

Piedmont-Foothills Legislative Cracker Barrel, Feb. 17, hosted by Prairie Hills Audubon Society, Piedmont Valley American Legion Post, Dakota Rural Action and Foothills Area Kiwanis and Foothills Area Chamber of Commerce.

Mitchell Area Cracker Barrels, Mar. 1, hosted by the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce.

District 2 Legislative Coffee, Feb. 10, hosted by the Brandon Valley Chamber of Commerce

District 7 and 8 Legislative Coffee, Feb. 17, hosted by the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce

Sturgis Legislative Cracker Barrel, March 2, hosted by the city of Sturgis

Lawrence County Cracker Barrel, Feb. 24, hosted by the city of Deadwood