2021 Capitol-ism: February 1

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South Dakota Chamber Of Commerce - Capitol-ism E-Newsletter

February 1, 2021


Bill Numbers Climb as Session Proceeds


  • Pandemic liability limits bill advances
  • Electric vehicle fees
  • SD Chamber bill setting comment period for initiated measures & amendments
  • Vaccinations . . . again
  • Embracing diversity
  • Capitol Week with David Owen podcast link
  • Business Day at the Legislature updates


As of Saturday January 29th, legislative day 12, there are 193 bills in the House and 164 bills in the Senate for a total of 357 bills.  Last year on legislative day 11, there were a total 280 bills (163 House and 117 Senate).  Even more remarkable (for those with a rather low threshold for what’s interesting), last Wednesday (LD 11) there were 240 total bills.  Meaning there were 117 bills “dropped” in two days, and 114 of them were dropped in one day.  A pause to ponder.


HB 1046Pandemic Liability Limits.

After amendments that used the term “gross negligence” in place of the language that allows a lawsuit to be filed related to COVID-19 and placing a sunset clause for December of 2022 on the limitations, HB 1046 passed the House on a vote of 60-Yes to 10-No.

HB 1046 has been sent to the Senate and assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee.  It is scheduled to be heard on Thursday of next week (02/04)

Here is the House vote on HB 1046:

The question being "Shall HB 1046 pass as amended?"  

And the roll being called: Yeas 60, Nays 10, Excused 0, Absent 0 

Yeas:  Anderson (R-Hudson), Aylward (R-Harrisburg), Bartels (R-Watertown), Barthel (R-Sioux Falls), Beal (R-Sioux Falls), Blare (R-Ideal), Chaffee (R-Whitewood), Chase (R-Huron), Davis (R-Burbank), Dennert (R-Aberdeen), Derby (R-Rapid City), Deutsch (R-Florence), Drury (R-Rapid City), Duba (D-Sioux Falls), Finck (R-Tripp), Fitzgerald (R-St. Onge), Goodwin (R-Rapid City), Lana Greenfield (R-Doland), Gross (R-Elkton), Hansen (R-Dell Rapids), Healy (D-Sioux Falls), Hoffman (R-Eureka), Howard (R-Rapid City), Jamison (R-Sioux Falls), Kevin Jensen (R-Canton), Phil Jensen (R-Rapid City), Chris Johnson (R-Rapid City), Koth (R-Mitchell), Ladner (R-Hot Springs), Lesmeister (D-Parade), Marty (R-Prairie City), May (R-Kyle), Mills (R-Volga), Milstead (R-Hartford), Miskimins (R-Mitchell), Mortenson (R-Pierre), Odenbach (R-Spearfish), Olson (R-Rapid City), Ernie Otten (R-Tea), Overweg (R-New Holland), Perry (R-Aberdeen), Kent Peterson (R-Salem), Sue Peterson (R-Sioux Falls), Randolph (R-Rapid City), Reed (R-Brookings), Rehfeldt (R-Sioux Falls), Reimer (R-Chamberlain), Schneider (R-Huron), Jamie Smith (D-Sioux Falls), Soye (R-Sioux Falls), St. John (R-Sisseton), Thomason (R-Sioux Falls), Tidemann (R-Brookings), Weis (R-Aberdeen), Weisgram (R-Fort Pierre), Wiese (R-Madison), Willadsen (R-Sioux Falls), Wink (R-Howes), York (R-Watertown), and Speaker Gosch (R-Glenham) 

Nays: Bordeaux (D-Mission), Cwach (D-Yankton), Haugaard (R-Sioux Falls), Karr (R-Sioux Falls), Keintz (D-Eden), Mulally (R-Rapid City), Pischke (R-Dell Rapids), Pourier (D-Pine Ridge), Stevens (R-Yankton), and Vasgaard (R-Centerville)


HB 1053 - Charging a fee for charging a car. 

Electric vehicles are touted as the way of the future.  They are emission free, fossil fuel free (if one ignores how electricity is generated) and user fee free.  Electric vehicles don’t float.  They wear out roads just like those grungy gas guzzlers.

Roads are built and fixed with money from gas taxes, collected by both federal and state governments but not collected from any all-electric vehicle.  HB 1053 will solve that deficiency by having all electric vehicles pay a $50 fee when they buy their license plates each year.  The fee at $50 is nowhere near what the average person pays in gas taxes (closer to $200) but getting a fee established is an important first step which the Chamber supports.

Some people wonder why a meter can’t be used at a charging station like the tax collected at the pump which could work if electric vehicles were forced to use charging stations and not allowed to be plugged in at home.  The ultimate answer is the flying saucers from the Jetson cartoons – no roads needed.  Until then HB 1053 will have to do.

·        HB 1053 passed out of House Transportation Committee on a vote of 12-Yes to 0-No  Here is that vote:


o   Voting Yes: Bordeaux (D-Mission), Chase (R-Huron), Derby (R-Rapid City), Koth (R-Mitchell), Milstead (R-Sioux Falls), Ernie Otten (R-Tea), Overweg (R-Hew Holland), Randolph (R-Rapid City), Tidemann (R-Brookings), Willadsen (R-Sioux Falls), Wink (R-Howes), and Finck (R-Tripp)

o   Excused: Blare (R-Ideal)


SB 123 – Comment period for attorney general’s statement.

This is about NOT holding your tongue - require a comment period for the attorney general’s statement regarding initiated measures and initiated amendments.  Sen. Diedrich (R-Rapid City), Rep. Jamison (R-Sioux Falls). 

This is the Chamber’s bill to create a comment period during the drafting of the Attorney General’s official ballot explanation.  The steps required for placing an initiative or initiated constitutional amendment on the ballot starts nearly two years before the Election Day that will decide the issue. 

Here are the steps required and the change that will happen if SB 123 becomes law.

  • Proposed language is submitted to the Legislative Research Council for comments on legal form and structure
  • Also posted on the Secretary of State’s website
  • Final language submitted to the Secretary of State – the final language of the new law or amendment is entirely up to the people sponsoring the initiative
  • Final language is sent to the Attorney General who is required to compose the Official Explanation - staff at the Attorney General’s office has 60 days to complete the Official Explanation which is limited to 200 words 
  • Official Explanation is returned to the Secretary of State to be printed on signature sheets and on the ballots

SB 123 would require the Attorney General to post a draft of the Official Explanation on the agency’s website and issue a media release inviting the public to offer comments and suggestions on that draft.  The comment period would be open for 10 days. 

After the comment period, the Attorney General would issue the Official Explanation for publication on signature sheets and the ballot, the same as it is done under current law.  The Attorney General would not be required to respond to the public suggestions offered during the comment period. 

SB 123 has been referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee.


HB 1097 – Here we (don’t) go again
- Provide for philosophical exceptions to required vaccinations.
 Rep. Pischke (R-Dell Rapids). 

Last session witnessed an attempt to prohibit the state from mandating that people be vaccinated as a requirement for attending school or participation in any other manner.  Proponents denied they were “anti-vaxxers” claiming instead to be promoting medical mandates and medical freedom.  Opponents, including the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, citing the return of whooping cough and other childhood illnesses in areas that have limited vaccine requirements defeated that bill in committee.   

Here we go again – current law does allow people to send children to school without being vaccinated if they present “A written statement signed by one parent or guardian that the child is an adherent to a religious doctrine whose teachings are opposed to such immunization.”

HB 1097 would add to this exception a line that says “because of a sincerely held religious or philosophical belief” by one of the parents.  This removes the link to a religious doctrine and simply allows one parent to object to vaccines and still send their children to school.  Granted, HB 1097 takes a different road but it leads to the same city of Rome.  Hopefully, the Legislature will find a vaccine against this bill. 


SB 71 – Diversity appreciation driven by importance, rather than numbers - Make “Juneteenth Day” a working holiday.  Sen. Bolin (R-Canton).

“Juneteenth” celebrates the day of June 17, 1865 which is the date that enslaved people in Texas first learned of the “Emancipation Proclamation” that had been signed two years earlier by President Lincoln, declaring them to be free.  Also known as “Freedom Day” this is an important day to Black Americans whose ancestors suffered the bondage of slavery in America.  

While blacks make up less than 2% of South Dakota’s population, it is a modern requisite for South Dakota to embrace diverse cultures and focus on cultural inclusion in communities and the workplace, historically significant events regardless of the level of population.  

The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry supported SB 71 which was approved in Senate State Affairs Committee on with a vote of 7-yes to 2-no.  Some of the opposition is based on a preference for SB 89 which would add “Junteenth” to the list of state holidays making it a paid holiday rather than adding to a number of currently celebrated “working holidays”.


Capitol Week with David Owen Podcast

David banters on boosted broadband access, placeholders for pot bills and the use of "smoke outs" (which actually have nothing to do with marijuana). All this and more in this high-energy episode of Capitol Week with David Owen.  Link to Episode Three:  https:/youtu.be/-zB9YEBY3JU

Business Day at the Legislature

The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry will hold this annual event Wednesday, February 17, 2021.  Business Day will be a virtual event – watch and participate online. 


1:30 to 2:30 PM (CT) – Legislative Update and Business Caucus featuring Chamber President David Owen and Ryan Budmayr, Lawrence and Schiller.

2:45 – 4 PM (CT) – Speakers Line Up featuring Governor Kristi Noem (invited), Ron Wirtz,  Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank and John Kirchner from the US Chamber of Commerce.  Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds and Congressman Dusty Johnson will also contribute to this session. 

Registration for the afternoon is $50. 

Business Day is generously sponsored by:

  • First PREMIER Bank
  • Microsoft
  • Black Hills Energy
  • MDU Resources Group, Inc.
  • Midco
  • NorthWestern Energy
  • Xcel Energy
  • Avera Health
  • Bender Commercial Real Estate Services
  • Bluestem Capital Co.
  • Daktronics
  • Lawrence & Schiller
  • POET
  • Sioux Valley Energy


Thank you for your support of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry!

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