Lobbyists in the halls of the South Dakota Capitol building in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)
PIERRE — Things really picked up at the Capitol this week, and deadlines had something to do with that. Lawmakers had free reign to submit as many bills as they pleased until 11 a.m. on Thursday, which meant dozens of bills dropped just before lunch that day. Check the list here.
More legislative coverage
Each lawmaker can file up to three more bills until Feb. 2, but they need to be aware of crossover day a few weeks later. That’s when all bills need to move from their chamber of origin (House or Senate) to the other side. Bills that don’t make it in time die on the vine.
Pierre-watchers also likely noticed the kerfuffle between Senate leadership and GOP Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller of Rapid City. She was stripped of her committee assignments on Wednesday and lost her voting privileges the next day. Details on why are scarce, but the hubbub is tied to Frye-Mueller’s feelings about vaccines, according to The Associated Press.
Here’s what happened with the bills we’ve written about so far:
- Food tax: The Gov. Kristi Noem-backed repeal of the food sales tax, House Bill 1075, passed House Taxation 12-1 and will land in House Appropriations. Makenzie Huber explored the potential impact to tribes.
- Ag lawsuits: Josh Haiar wrote about HB 1090, which would make it harder to sue agricultural operations. That one passed the House Ag and Natural Resources Committee, then sailed through the House with just nine no votes. It’s on to the Senate.
- Tribal Relations: Senate Bill 69 would change the makeup of the state’s Tribal Relations Committee. The gist? Fewer Democrats, more Republicans. Here’s Josh’s rundown. SB 69 passed out of committee and passed 27-7 on the Senate floor.
- Battery tax: Lithium would be taxed as an energy mineral under HB 1072. Josh tells us the proposal is meant to wring tax dollars from a potential mining boom that could result from Black Hills lithium prospecting.
- County seats: Last week, Makenzie told you about SB 56, which would make it harder to move a county seat. That one passed the Senate 31-4 on Tuesday, in a watered-down form compared to its original draft, and heads to House Local Government.
- Fentanyl test strips: HB 1041 would decriminalize fentanyl test strips, which are small bits of paper that can detect the presence of the deadly synthetic opioid. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee 11-2 and was deferred to another day in the House.
- Higher education: SB 45 would repeal the requirement for an annual intellectual diversity report by the Board of Regents. It passed the Senate Education Committee 5-2 and the Senate 21-12. Now it’ll head to the House Education Committee. HB 1070, which would create a Center for American Exceptionalism at BHSU, passed House Education 9-6 and heads to House Appropriations.
- Prison costs: HB 1003 would kill the cost estimates currently attached to any bill that would increase the prison or jail population. It’s one Senate vote from Gov. Noem’s desk after a Thursday endorsement from Senate State Affairs.
- Election laws, forensic exams: The Senate passed SB 46, which makes it easier to charge ballot circulators with perjury. Here’s the backstory. That one’s on to House Judiciary. SB 47, which would apply class 2 misdemeanor charges for election law violations, failed in the Senate. Hear the debate here (lawmakers were concerned about overreach). A bill to make convicts pay for searches of laptops and cell phones, SB 54, also died in the Senate, in spite of an amendment limiting its scope. Here’s that debate (overreach was an issue there, too).
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