South Dakota Legislative Update - Jan. 26, 2021

Environment
Farm and Food
Small Business
Small Towns

Welcome to the Pierre Review!

Today is Day 10 of South Dakota’s 37-day legislative session, which will conclude March 29.

All bills need to be introduced by Feb. 4 (Legislative Day 16) and must pass out of both houses by March 8, LD 33.

So far, a relatively low number of bills have been introduced. We expect the number to grow as the Feb. 4 deadline nears. Below you’ll find some of the bills we are monitoring.

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

 

Economic and community development

Senate Bill (SB) 34—Support: Brought at the request of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the bill would make  an appropriation to expand rural access to broadband services and to declare an emergency.
SB 34 allocates $100 million dollars toward building out broadband infrastructure in the state, giving priority to projects that leverage existing investment and infrastructure, serve locations without high-speed internet, and serve the most number of customers. Many rural South Dakotans lack adequate internet access, making this program an important investment for rural communities. 
Scheduled for hearing in the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee on Jan. 26 at 10 a.m.
 
House Bill (HB) 1077—Support: This bill was brought at the request of the governor’s office and would provide for licensure by endorsement for certain licensed professionals and occupations. In March, Gov. Kristi Noem issued Executive Order 2020-07, which allowed for greater flexibility for health care professionals as part of COVID-19 response. HB 1077 is an extension of that order and makes permanent the recognition of out-of-state licenses for certain medical professionals. 
Scheduled for hearing in the House State Affairs committee on Jan. 27 at 7:45 a.m.

Food and agriculture

HB 1040—Support: Brought at the request of the Department of Agriculture, the bill would make an appropriation to fund certain small meat processor grants and to declare an emergency. COVID-19 has caused disruptions in the meat processing industry, creating a backlog at many local meat processors. This bill allocates $5 million to create a grant program that would allow meat processors to expand their processing capabilities through infrastructure improvements. This Meat Processing Grants Program One-Pager provides an overview of the program.
Scheduled for hearing in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Jan. 28 at 7:45 a.m. 

HB 1042—Support: This bill was brought at the request of the Department of Natural Resources and would revise certain provisions regarding riparian buffer strips. HB 1042 decreases the assessed agricultural income value of land classified as a riparian buffer strip from 60% to 50%, and changes the application requirement from annual to once every 10 years.
Referred to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. As of today, a hearing date has not been scheduled.  

Energy and environment

HB 1053—Neutral: This bill introduced by Rep. Mark Willadsen establishes an annual fee for certain electric motor vehicles. HB 1053 creates an annual fee of $100 for electric motor vehicles to offset the lost funds that are normally generated through the gas tax, collected in the state’s highway maintenance fund, and used for construction and maintenance of roads and bridges. The state gas tax is 28 cents/gallon, which means the $100 annual fee for electric vehicles is equivalent to the tax paid on 357 gallons of gas. 
Referred to the House Transportation Committee. As of today, a hearing date has not been scheduled.  

Advocacy resources

Here are few resources to help empower you to advocate for the issues you care about: 
How to be a rural advocate
Engaging with the South Dakota Legislature
Remote testifying allowed at 2021 legislative session

Upcoming Legislative forums:

District 7 Legislative Forum, Jan. 30, hosted by Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce
District 18 Legislative Cracker Barrel, Jan. 30, hosted by Yankton Area Chamber of Commerce
Districts 30, 32, 33, 34, and 35 Cracker Barrels, Jan. 30, hosted by Elevate Rapid City 
Districts 1, 2, and 3 Legislative Cracker Barrels, Jan. 30, Feb. 6, hosted by Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce
Districts 10 and 25 Legislative Coffee, Feb. 6, hosted by Brandon Valley Area Chamber of Commerce
Districts 6, 9, and 13 Legislative Coffee, Feb. 6, hosted by Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce

Fun fact

In 1831, a member of the American Fur Company, Pierre Chouteau Jr., built Fort Pierre. When the land across the river was platted in 1880, it was decided to name the city Pierre, also after Pierre Chouteau Jr.