Category Archives: 2015 SD Legislative Session

House Commerce has HB 1067 on Weds Feb 10 at a special time

4289963On Wednesday, February 10, at 3:45 pm, or 14 minutes after session, the SD House Commerce and Energy committee will take on 1 bill. This is compiled using the agenda at the time of composing this post. Agendas can and do change!

One way to listen to these meetings live is via the audio links on the Schedule page of the LRC website. While there you can also view the status board for the meetings as they are going on.

*** Take note of the special time of this meeting!

HB 1067 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Promote quality, competition, and freedom of choice in the health insurance market place.s

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Rep Tim Rounds (R, Dist 24) and Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors.

Testimony for this bill has already been taken. This will be part 2 of testimony and at a special time. It has also changed to a different room due to the amount of people who showed up for the first meeting.

I am still very undecided about this bill.

Here is what I said about the bill before:

This is a hot one. This appears to be an attempt to overturn IM 17, which was passed by the voters in 2014. At that time I thought IM 17 was a bad law, and still do. But I do question whether it is reasonable to mandate a change to an IM that was used as a mandate to overrule other mandates. That is just a nightmare situation. Over at Dakota War College there are some posts on this subject from Pat Powers.

At this time I’m leaning against this bill. But I’ll have to listen to testimony.

There is a note at the bottom of the agenda which states:

Committee will hear initial testimony on HB1067. Final committee action will take place on February 10 at 3:45 pm or 15 minutes after session in Room 414.

That is an odd move…

Monday, Jan 11, the Joint Appropriations committee has a meeting

21188608.thbTomorrow, Monday, Jan 11, the interim Joint Appropriations committee will meet. This is one day before the South Dakota 2016 legislative session begins. The meeting starts at 8:30 am and the agenda can be viewed here.

Anyone that plans to follow the appropriations process this session will probably want to tune into this meeting. Commissioner Jason Dilges, Bureau of Finance and Management, will give a presentation on the following items:

FY2016 (Current Year) Budget Adjustments

Ongoing Revenue Estimates
One-time Revenue Estimates
Revenue Summary
Supplemental Appropriations Items
Recommended Special Appropriations
FY2016 Revised Bottom Line

FY2017 Budget Adjustments

Ongoing Revenue Projections
Ongoing General Fund Proposals
Budget Recommendations by Agency
FY2017 Bottom Line

Death Penalty repeal will be a focus for 2016, a look back at 2015

Death row © Christianm | Dreamstime.com
Death row © Christianm | Dreamstime.com

This last Saturday I attended a forum in Sioux Falls hosted by South Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. The event had a panel that looked at the Human Face of the Death Penalty. Over the next couple of weeks I will have video and blog posts coming out of that event. The progress of death penalty repeal legislation will be a focus on this blog during the 2016 session.

Before doing the posts coming out of the death penalty forum or looking at 2016, I will take a few moments to look at the legislation brought forth in 2015. None of the four bills made it out of committee.

HB 1158 – Victims opposition to the death penalty

HB 1158 (SoDakLiberty Posts) was prime sponsored by Rep Steve Hickey (who later in the year resigned to study abroad) and Sen Billie Sutton (D, Dist 21).

This was a bill I thought might actually make it through committee. SD codified law 23A-27A-2 defines the relevant evidence a jury will be presented with during a presentence hearing that involves the death penalty. The fourth and final relevant evidence includes the following:

(4)    All evidence concerning any mitigating circumstances,

HB 1158 would have added the following:

(4)    All evidence concerning any mitigating circumstances, including documented evidence of the victim’s opposition to the death penalty and testimony from the victim’s family that the defendant’s life be spared.

Personally I find it almost stunning that the wishes of the victim or the victim’s family would not even be presented during the presentencing hearing. During committee testimony for the bill Hickey had said “The victims voice, I think, is the starting point in the consideration of the sentencing in a death penalty.” He noted the victims wishes do not have to be granted according to the bill he brought forth. All this bill really would have done is let the jury know the wishes of the victim and/or the victim’s family. Allowing this would not necessarily change the outcome. I agree with Hickey that the victims voice should be heard during the hearing and I find it to be an injustice that this doesn’t happen.

The bill was killed by the House State Affairs committee by a vote of 10-2.

HB 1159 – Opposition to death penalty on ID card

HB 1159 (SoDakLiberty Posts) also had Rep Hickey and Sen Sutton as the prime sponsors.

This is a bill I never thought would make it through committee, and was glad to see it defeated. I personally am against the death penalty, but I don’t think this was a good solution. The bill can be best summarized in the first sentence of the bill:

A person, eighteen years of age or older, may express personal opposition to the death penalty by checking the box on the driver license or identification card application.

Hickey had offered an amendment that would have fixed some of the issues that were possible with the legislation as proposed. I don’t think that was enough from my perspective. Personally I think the state already does too much data collection, especially by the DMV. There are other ways for victims to get their wishes known without involving a driver’s license. During the death penalty repeal forum I recently attended one of the panelists showed a card that can be carried around to serve the same function. I would also think that a signed document stored with a persons Will would also be a good alternative. Plus, without HB 1158 passing it made this bill fairly irrelevant.

The bill was killed by the House State Affairs committee by a vote of 10-2.

SB 121 – Real of the death penalty

SB 121 (SoDakLiberty Posts) was prime sponsored by Sen Bernie Hunhoff (D, Dist 18) and Rep Hickey.

Currently SD codified law 22-6-1 provides for the death penalty as one of possible punishments for a Class A felony (there are nine classes):

(1)      Class A felony: death or life imprisonment in the state penitentiary. A lesser sentence than death or life imprisonment may not be given for a Class A felony. In addition, a fine of fifty thousand dollars may be imposed;

This bill would have removed the death penalty and made a life imprisonment one without the possibility of parole. I thought Sen Hunhoff made a good case for passage of the bill during committee testimony when he made this statement:

Do we want a government so big, so powerful, that it can decide life and death. Can we be sure, if government has that much power, can we be sure there will never be an error in the justice system. I believe by last count there were a hundred and fifty exonerations, of people who were on death row and exonerated.

He also went on to talk about whether it is effective as a deterrent or ethical. Personally I do not want a government so powerful that it can make life or death decisions. That is particularly true for many of us that find the death penalty to be morally wrong. I will likely go further into this topic during the 2016 session as new bills are brought forth.

The bill was killed by the Senate State Affairs committee by a vote of 7-2.

SB 122 – Revise death penalty provisions.

SB 122 (SoDakLiberty Posts) was also prime sponsored by Sen Hunhoff and Rep Hickey.

SB 122 is a bill I thought maybe had more of a chance than SB 122. Instead of repealing the death penalty, this bill would also add the requirement that:

A finding that the defendant is too dangerous to be incarcerated and is an ongoing danger to the public and the prison community.

That requirement would have to be met during the presentencing trial along with current requirements of at least one aggravating circumstance and a recommendation that the death sentence be imposed. Personally I would rather a full repeal of the death penalty, but at least this bill would have created a hurdle that would cause fewer people put to death by the State of South Dakota. Considering how many death row inmates have been exonerated nationwide, I can’t understand why this bill did not make it out of committee.

The bill was killed by the Senate State Affairs committee by a vote of 7-2.

PS. I almost forgot about one of the first posts I did on this blog explaining in part why I am opposed to the death penalty.

PPS. I also found another old post where I said this:

Gun control and reducing murder within our society has become a large debate topic recently. However at the same time we fail to debate whether the government should be allowed to kill people. The death penalty at its core is simply the taking of someone’s life for revenge. There is no justice or rehabilitation with the death penalty. There is only death.

River Basin Task Force meets today in Pierre

Today at the 10:00am the River Basin Natural Resource District Oversight Advisory Task Force meets in Pierre for its third meeting. The agenda for this meeting can be viewed here. This will be the last River Basin Task Force meeting for 2015.

My post preceding the previous meeting can be found here.  The minutes from that meeting can be found here.

The documents for today’s meeting include draft maps of the proposed river basin districts. Here is the SD Map showing a draft of the nine proposed districts:

Draft of the SD River Basin Natural Resource Districts. Image from LRC website.
Draft of the SD River Basin Natural Resource Districts. Image from LRC website.

Each district shown above would then be split into three sub-districts. Since I live in Aberdeen I’ll show the draft James River Basin Natural Resource District:

Draft James River Basin Natural Resource District. Image from LRC website.
Draft James River Basin Natural Resource District. Image from LRC website.

Today the task force will review the maps. Proponents of the new watershed districts have stated this is not a growth of government. But now that I look at the map I can’t help but wonder how it can’t be a growth of government. The task force proposes each district has a council composed of six members, two from each sub-district. Each council member will be elected during the 2018 election and server a 4 year term (although to begin with half will serve a two-year term so terms can be staggered). It is still too early to draw conclusions, but with a new layer of government being added and the likely taxing authority they will have, it is hard to imagine this won’t become a new bureaucracy to get in the way of the agricultural industry.

The draft legislation regarding the election of council members can be read here.

This is an issue worth watching during the 2016 legislative session to be sure!

Legislative Planning Committee Meeting on Dec 7

Business-Meeting-300pxOn Monday, December 7, the Legislative Planning Committee will hold its fourth and final meeting on the South Dakota legislative interim session in Pierre. The last meeting was held on October 22.

The minutes from the October 22 meeting can be viewed here. Also, the documents from that meeting can be viewed here. This includes a presentation from the DOH. The only problem I have with the statistics in the presentation, is to wonder why so much of that data needs to be collected. South Dakota is definitely not conservative with its policies about collecting data on citizens.

The agenda for the December 7 meeting can be found here. Since it is a relatively short agenda I’ll also publish it here:

  • 1:00 p.m. Call to Order
    Determination of Quorum
    Approval of Minutes – October 22nd meeting
    Opening Remarks
  • 1:15 p.m. Efforts to enhance educational opportunities for adult inmates
    • Jennifer Stanwick-Klimek, Deputy Warden, Mike Durfee State Prison
    • Tiffany Sanderson, Director, Division of Career and Technical Education, SD Department of Education
  • 1:45 p.m. Wrap-up on benchmarks and performance measures for postsecondary career and technical education
    • Tiffany Sanderson
  • 2:00 p.m. Review of benchmarks and performance measures for the SD Department of Health
    • Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary, SD Department of Health
  • 2:45 p.m. Public Testimony
    Interim Wrap-up
  • 3:15 p.m. Adjourn

Executive Board meeting on Monday, Nov 16

SD House Votes display. Apparently I never took a pic of the other display. Photo by Ken Santema
SD House Votes display. Apparently I never took a pic of the other display. Photo by Ken Santema

On Monday, November 16, the SD Legislative Executive Board will meet in Pierre. At the end of the meeting the board will adjourn and gavel back in as the Bonding Committee. The Executive Board agenda can be viewed here and the Bonding Committee agenda can be viewed here.

Here are some areas of interest going into the meetings:

New House Display Screen Demo (House Chambers)

I’ve heard this item come up a few times in committee meetings this interim session. At the Aug 24 Exec meeting it was reported the display was installed, but there was some work to be done for it to be fully functional. By this time it should be ready to go.

Back in April 27 the Exec committee approved the new display for the House. It was chosen not to get a display for the Senate, but that is an option for the future. The new display for the House, along with new voting software, is supposed to “provide more accurate information more quickly to the Legislators and to the general public using the internet. ” Personally I’m looking forward to seeing how that will assist what I do as a blogger during the 2016 legislative session.

Legislative Ethics Seminar

Rep Lee Schoenbeck (R, Dist 5) will give a report on a recent ethics presentation he attended in Minneapolis. Bob Mercer has a story on Schoenbeck giving his presentation to the board. I think it is great when I see a legislator sharing knowledge gained at seminars, especially on such an important topic…

Interim Committee Reports

This is probably the main reason I will be listening to this meeting. I have mostly kept up with other committees, but this will hopefully provide a good summary of what has transpired during the legislative summer vacation.

Bonding Reports

The Bonding Committee will receive annual reports on the following bonds:

  • South Dakota Housing Development Authority
  • South Dakota Conservancy District
  • South Dakota Value Added Finance Authority
  • South Dakota Economic Development Finance Authority
  • South Dakota Building Authority
  • South Dakota Health and Educational Facilities Authority

Rules Review meeting in Pierre today

Today, November 9, the  Legislative Rules Review Committee will hold its regular meeting in Pierre. The minutes and documents from previous meetings this interim session can be viewed here.  The meeting is going on as I write this post.

Below are the rules being reviewed in the November 9 meeting according to the agenda.

*** Whenever possible I’ve included a link to the rule being discussed on the Rules.SD.gov website (make sure you have popups disabled for this site in your browser). Another place to look for more information is to search through the register archive. For this post though I have tried to find things in Rules.SD.gov or through the agency website relating to that rule. I am trying to see how easy the State Government is making it to actually get info.

Department of Game, Fish and Parks

The proposed administrative rule changes will: 1) amend general definitions in rule changing “Black Hills Trout Management Area” to “Black Hills Fish Management Area”, declare white bass a rough fish, 2) modify “Fish Limits” rules, 3) modify rules for paddlefish snagging & spearing, 4) amend mountain lion season rules to set the harvest limit & establish nonresident mountain lion hunting licenses, 5) modify bobcat season rules to include additional east river counties, and 6) amend rules for Bait & Private Hatcheries.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

I really haven’t had time to look through the proposed rule changes. For any hunters and fishers out there it might be worth reading the proposed changes.

Department of Transportation

Amend a Hughes County speed zone on U.S. Highway 14 and U.S. Highway 83 in Pierre beginning at Fourth Street northeasterly for .065 mile, 35 mph, then northeasterly for 3.2 miles, 55mph; and on U.S. Highway 14 and U.S. Highway 83 Truck Bypass in Pierre, beginning at the junction with State Trunk Highway 34, then north for 2.19 miles, 35 mph, then north to its junction with U.S. Highway 14 and U.S. Highway 83, 45 mph.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

For those living in the Pierre area this might be worth looking at.

Department of Education: Board of Education

Amend a Certification rule to increase educator certification application fees effective July 1, 2016, and clean up language in the section.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

There is a reason given for the educator certification application fee increase: “The reason for the changes to 24:15:03:05 is due to revenues not meeting the annual expenditures for certification-related expenses and the fund balance decreasing to a point that the fund will not be able to support the ongoing cost of these expenses.”

I find it odd that at the same time the legislature is looking at increasing teacher pay through new taxes that the Board of Education wants to put more financial burden on teachers.

Department of Labor and Regulation: Division of Insurance

Amend rules to update the insurance holding companies reporting requirements and amend rules regarding certificates of creditable coverage.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

Another one I haven’t had the time to read.

Department of Revenue: Commission on Gaming

Amend Gaming rules to add a definition for House Banked Table Games; add new versions of blackjack to the list of authorized blackjack games; include within the authorized games of poker new games adopted by the Commission; authorize a variation of Mississippi Stud poker; create a new variation of poker known as Flushes Gone Wild; and create a variation of poker known as Hot Poker Spot.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

I really didn’t realize there were so many different types of blackjack. Thew new ones are called: Dead Man’s Hand blackjack, War blackjack, Lucky Lucky blackjack, and Free Bet blackjack. That is in addition to the ten that already exist. Personally I think this level of regulation for gaming is just silly! Let the casinos decide what game to use…

Department of Health: Board of Dentistry

Amend rules to remove obsolete provisions and references; update references; update permits to administer general anesthesia and 3 deep sedation, moderate sedation, nitrous oxide inhalation analgesia, local anesthesia and permits to monitor patients under anesthesia or sedation; require continued competency for anesthesia and sedation permit holders; update rules related to contracting with licensed anesthesia providers; allow a dentist that holds a general anesthesia and deep sedation or moderate sedation permit to authorize a dental hygienist, registered dental assistant or dental assistant operating under direct visual supervision to inject medication pursuant to a verbal command and set forth the requirements for this authorization to occur; and update the anesthesia credentials committee.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

I don’t really have anything to say about this one. This meeting just has too many areas outside of my knowledge area…

Office of the State Auditor

Repeal a rule regarding the minimum amount guidelines for electronic fund transfers evaluated by the Office of the State Auditor

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule does not exist. I did find this in theSeptember 8, 2015, register. I really think an office that at least in part is about transparency should make sure rule changes proposed from that department are listed on Rules.SD.gov.

Department Health: Division of Health and Medical Services

Adds Coccidioidomycosis, Leptospirosis, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Chikungunya, Colorado Tick Fever, Lead (elevated blood levels in children and adults), Silicosis, Carbon monoxide poisoning and Pesticide-related illness and injury, acute to the South Dakota Reportable Disease list.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

I’m actually surprised some groups aren’t out there speaking against this change. There was a lot of opposition to HB 1058 (SoDakLiberty Posts) this year and this is a rule change for reportable diseases.

PS. Speaking of dentists. This immediately comes to mind:

Ag Land Assessment Task Force will look at four pieces of draft legislation

Grassland. Photo by Ken Santema.
Grassland. Photo by Ken Santema.

On Monday, November 2, the Ag Land Assessment Task Force will have a meeting at 10am in Pierre. The agenda for this meeting can be viewed here. I’m looking at the documents for this meeting and see there are four pieces of draft legislation to be discussed.

In the 2015 legislative session there were five bills brought forth by this task force. Here is the list of those bills:

  • SB 4 – Defeated on Senate floor – SoDakLiberty PostsMake an appropriation for research concerning the administrative and financial impact of actual use on agricultural land assessments and to declare an emergency.
  • SB 5 – Signed by Governor – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions concerning the assessment and taxation of real property.
  • SB 6 – Withdrawn – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions concerning the pension and capital outlay tax levies for school districts.
  • SB 7 – Withdrawn – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions concerning the school district pension fund and capital outlay fund tax levies and to provide property tax opt-out procedures for the capital outlay levy.
  • SB 44 – Deferred to the 41st legislative day – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise the criteria for classifying property as agricultural land and to provide for additional requirements for small agricultural acreages and timber land to be classified as agricultural land.

SB 5 was the only bill the task force was able to get passed in 2015, and it was called cleanup by the task force. The bill mainly appears to have removed Nonagricultural acreage property from property taxes classification

Here is a brief look at the four pieces of draft legislation.

SDSU Research

An Act to make an appropriation to revise and update the values and methods used to determine the agricultural land production capacity and to declare an emergency.

This draft legislation would conduct “research concerning the value and methods used to determine agricultural land production capacity and to update the data used in the soil tables”. There is also an appropriation of $175,000 to allow SDSU to conduct the research.

Grassland

An Act to provide for the assessment of certain agricultural land as noncropland

The second piece of draft legislation would allow grassland to be treated as noncropland. To get this classification the following guidelines must be met: “any agricultural land that has been seeded to grass for at least forty years and is used for animal grazing or left unharvested, or is a native grassland”.

Ag Land Classification Criteria

An Act to revise the criteria for determining if property is 2 agricultural land for property tax purposes.

This draft legislation appears to take aim at people who will plant a few trees and call their land ag. It should be interesting to see if such legislation will move forward in 2016.

Ag Income Classification Criteria

An Act to revise the income criteria for determining if property is 2 classified as agricultural land for property tax purposes

Part of this draft legislation modifies the income criteria. An interesting addition to this legislation is “any state-owned public shooting area or a state-owned game production area as identified pursuant to § 41-4-8 that is owned and managed by the Department of Game, Fish and Parks shall be assessed and taxed as agricultural land.”

 

A full agenda for the Government Operations & Audit Committee (GOAC) meeting on Oct 30

SD State Capital. Photo by Ken Santema.
SD State Capital. Photo by Ken Santema.

On Friday, October 30, the South Dakota legislatures Government Operations & Audit Committee (GOAC) will meet at 9 am in Pierre. Of particular interest in this meeting is the report from the Secretary of State (SOS), which is towards the end of the agenda. I am going to look at the SOS portion of this meeting in a separate post!

Here is a brief breakdown of all ten items on GOAC’s agenda. Most of these are items I’ll refrain from digging into so I can spend more time on the SOS portion of the meeting (that post will be separate!).

Item 1 – Oversight Council – To provide the annual report called for in the Public Safety Improvement Act

Public Safety Improvement Act (PSIA) was passed by the legislature in 2013 as  SB 70.  This is the Governor’s big criminal justice reform that he is so proud of. The biggest problem I’ve seen with PSIA is that it doesn’t do anything to reduce the amount of criminals. This could be done by getting rid of victim-less crimes. Instead of getting rid of victim-less crimes, PSIA treats criminals differently in a way that shifts cost of handling those criminals from the State to the Counties. That is really putting a lot of strain on the counties, which area already lacking cash.

Item 2 – Attorney General’s Office to provide an overview and answer Committee questions regarding the following Other Funds:

  • Law Enforcement Officers Training Fund – Company 3010

This fund has quite a bit of money going through it. Looking at the document prepared for GOAC the fund brings in over $3 million in revenue and about the same in expenses for fiscal year 2015.

  • 911 Telecommunicator Training Fund – Company 3010

This program shows expenses of over $220,000 for fiscal year 2015 according to the document provided to GOAC.

Item 3 – Unified Judicial System to provide an overview and answer Committee questions regarding the Court Automation Fund – Company 3012

The document provided to GOAC shows this fund gets almost $8 million in revenue and just over $6 million in expenses for fiscal year 2015.

Item 4 – School and Public Lands to provide an overview and answer Committee questions regarding the Human Services Fund – Company 5018

This particular fund I really hadn’t researched before. Here is what the document from SPL says about the fund:

Human Services Fund Description
Human Services Fund Description

Item 5 – Board of Massage Therapists to provide an overview and answer Committee questions regarding Company 6503

The document provided to GOAC shows revenue of just under $50k and expenses of just under $68k for fiscal year 2015.

Item 6 – Department of Environment and Natural Resources to provide an overview and answer Committee questions regarding the Petroleum Release Compensation Fund – Company 3036

The document provided GOAC shows this fund brings in revenue of just under $2 million in fiscal year 2015.

Item 7 – Department of Social Services to discuss:

  • The status of the open hospital administrator’s position at the Human Services Center
  • Safety measures at the Human Services Center

No documents have been posted for DSS yet.

Item 8 – Secretary of State Agreed Upon Procedures Report

Post forthcoming!

Item 9 – Department of Legislative Audit to review fiscal year 2015 separately issued audit reports and Single Audit findings

Legislative Audit’s report can be viewed here.

Item 10 – Review draft of the GOAC Annual Report to the Executive Board and authorize the Chair to finalize the report

The current draft of the report can be viewed here.

Tribal Economic Development Task Force meeting on Oct 30, industrial hemp bill forthcoming

"Indian Camp" artwork in the SD State Capital building. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15.
“Indian Camp” artwork in the SD State Capital building. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15.

On Friday, October 30, the Tribal Economic Development Task Force for South Dakota will meet in Pierre. This is a task force I haven’t really been following throughout the year, but maybe should have. There have been some interesting tidbits I’ve found in the minutes from previous meetings.

Before looking at the agenda for the Oct 30 meeting it is worth looking at a few items from the previous meetings:

June 5, 2015, Tribal Economic Development Task Force meeting

The minutes from this meeting show it was all about discovering how bad things are on the reservations. One part of the minutes does highlight one of the bigger problems I see with economic development on tribal lands:

Mr. Del Ray German said a lack of capital is a struggle. Senator Bradford pointed out that issues with trust land is a challenge, because business owners can lease a building for five years, put $50,000 into the building, and then after the lease is expired, the tribe can take the building from the business owner. It is a large risk to take.

Property rights and rule of law to enforce property rights are required for capitalism to function. This is a problem much greater than just a corporation going in and not being able to own lands. Many small businesses are financed through a mortgage on the primary resident of the business owner. If tribal members don’t own the house they live in, there is no opportunity to use a mortgage in order to take the risk and start a business. I still think tribes should look at somehow allowing financial services on the reservation that would allow for property rights. In the case of foreclosure it would still be tribal trust land. It would be interesting to see something like that tried in South Dakota.

August 10, 2015, Tribal Economic Development Task Force meeting

Looking at the minutes from the second meeting I see further testimony that property rights (or lack thereof) is a problem on tribal lands in a trust. Here is a portion of the minutes from the testimony by Mr. Michael LaPointe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe:

A much larger issue is the tribes have no ability to build wealth, and no taxing authority. Mr. LaPointe thinks there are two implications when you don’t own land, you cannot build wealth, and you can’t build tax revenue. This is a problem for the tribes. They cannot tax and hire a decent police force. Representative May asks if Mr. LaPointe believes the tribes should be in a partnership with the state government, instead of the federal government. Mr. LaPointe agrees.

Right now the tribes need to build wealth in order to be self-sufficient. A lack of property rights makes capitalism a hard tool to use for building wealth.

I also found the question fromRep Elizabeth May (R, Dist 27) about partnering with the state instead of the federal government was worth asking. State government is much closer and has a symbiotic relationship with the tribes. Logistically and legally that may not be an option. But it would be interesting to look into.

September 28, 2015, Tribal Economic Development Task Force meeting

This meeting also peaked by interest because of the possibility of industrialized hep mentioned in the minutes. Here is the full section about industrialized hemp from the minutes:

Representative Verchio distributed copies of a draft bill: An Act to authorize the production and sale of industrial hemp. (Document #1) Representative Verchio said that he sees this as an opportunity to produce jobs in both farming and manufacturing. Hemp does not cause a high when smoked, as does the marijuana plant. Hemp is used in making rope, animal food, cosmetics, and many more products.

Representative May said that two years ago she had proposed a resolution regarding legalizing the production of hemp in South Dakota. Representative May said that law enforcement had argued that they cannot tell the difference between the marijuana plant and the hemp plant when they are growing in the fields.

Representative May continued saying that this is a huge opportunity for South Dakota farmers and that having hemp as a rotational crop would be beneficial. She said that this specific bill has too many regulations that may hamper those interested in growing this crop.

Representative Verchio said that he included the regulations to help reduce the resistance from law enforcement. He said that once people see how this crop is grown and used; those regulations could be reduced.

Representative Verchio asked LRC staff to send copies of this proposed legislation to all members of the Tribal Economic Development Task Force so that it may be discussed further at the next task force meeting.

Unfortunately the draft bill offered by Rep Mike Verchio (R, Dist 30) was not attached to the minutes. I’ve blogged about industrial hemp a few times over the last couple of years and know many farmers in NE South Dakota that would love the ability to choose from hemp. For the tribes it could be a huge economic development tool.

The resolution mentioned by Rep May was 2014’s HCR 1017.  May was the House sponsor, where passed 61-6. On the Senate side Sen Jason Frerichs (D, Dist 1) was the sponsor and it failed 13-21. Maybe the 2016 session can see a bill legalizing hemp passed, going well beyond a resolution. The federal farm bill including hemp research is a possible entry point to use for such legislation.

October 30, 2015, Tribal Economic Development Task Force meeting

The agenda for this meeting is quite short. I really hope to hear more in this meeting about possibilities of industrial hemp as an economic development tool for the tribes. Here is the full agenda:

  • 10:00 a.m. Call to Order; Approval of Minutes – September 28, 2015 meeting Determination of Quorum Chair’s Remarks
  • 10:15 a.m. Introductions
  • 10:30 a.m. Tribal Presentations
  • 11:30 a.m. Agency Presentations
  • 12:30 p.m. Committee Discussion
  • 1:30 p.m. Public Testimony
  • 2:00 p.m. Adjourn