2021 Capitol-ism: January 8

Special Events


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

January 8, 2021 

For the 96th Time the Regular Session of the Legislature Begins

Next Tuesday - the "Second Tuesday of January" (South Dakota Constitution)

There is a stillness in the air like the calm before the storm.  Something is about to happen that is simultaneously incomparable and very common, potentially chaotic and reassuring.  It is mandated by the Constitution of South Dakota.

The Legislature convenes next Tuesday – January 12th (aka “the second Tuesday” in January). 


In this issue you will find the following topics:

  • Marijuana Update
  • 2021 Legislative Leadership and Demographic Information  
  • Legislative Committee Schedule
  • Link to the 2021 Legislative Handbook

Special Focus:  Yes, Voters Approved Legalizing Marijuana - Twice

Will Marijuana be the legislature’s highest priority?   

South Dakota became the first state in the nation to legalize BOTH medical marijuana AND recreational marijuana at the same time!  It’s hard to tell which was the larger group; the group that thought South Dakota voters would never vote to make recreational marijuana or “pot for play” legal – or – the opposite group that quietly admitted they were tired of driving to Colorado for their supply. 


OK – Now What?

Don’t Panic.  These ballot measures don’t become law until July 1st of this year.  There will be no change in the status of marijuana for six months. 

A lawsuit has been filed.  There is a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Amendment A using two arguments.  The first argument is that ballot measures have been limited to a single topic since the election of 2017 and Amendment plaintiffs argue Amendment A addresses multiple topics.  The second argument suggests that Amendment A makes such a large change in the Constitution that it is not merely an amendment but is actually a “revision”.  The only way revisions are allowed, the argument goes, is by a constitutional convention – not an initiative.

The case has been filed in a state circuit court and should have some preliminary rulings during session.  No matter how the first court rules, it is a sure bet this topic will end up at the South Dakota Supreme Court.  Again, this will take time.

Most states took well over a year to finalize rules and procedures so this change will take time and have plenty of opportunities for input from the businesses. 

You can still fire people who fail drug tests.  Both IM-26 (medical marijuana) and Amendment A (recreational marijuana) make it clear that employers will still have the right to be “drug free” and will not be required to permit or accommodate marijuana use.  This includes the right to fire employees who have failed drug tests and to refuse to hire applicants that don’t pass the same tests.

The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce has been researching the potential of South Dakota making marijuana legal for more than two years.  Employers will have a voice in the rules and restrictions placed on marijuana in South Dakota.

As a reminder, here are the results of the marijuana ballot measures and maps showing how each county voted on the ballot questions.

Amendment A Recreational Marijuana

        Yes = 54% - 225,252

         No = 46% - 190,476 (margin 34,776)


On the following Amendment A vote map, Green = YES  Red = No


IM-26Medical Marijuana

        Yes = 70% - 291,746

         No = 125,487 (margin 166,259)

On the following Initiated Measure 26 vote map, Green = YES  Red = No


South Dakota has a true citizen legislative body that involves 105 legislators that will convene starting next Tuesday and meet for a scheduled 37 day session that will end on Veto Day, scheduled for Monday March 29th.  As elected Senators and Representatives, these individuals will dedicate the next two years to phone calls and meetings and reading texts about hundreds of issues, some of which will be helpful and some of which will be horrid.  This form of public service affects their entire families as well.   

The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry appreciates these public servants and is thankful that people are willing to work long hours to make decisions that are critical to the functioning of this state and its people.  Thanks also to the career staff people who run our state government and are very much part of every legislative session.


Who Would Do This To Themselves?

Here is an analysis of the make-up of the 2021 Legislature.

The Senate

·       The Senate has 35 members. 

·       The partisan split shows 32 Republicans and 3 Democrats (last session had 30 Rs and 5 Ds).

·       21 of the 35 served in the Senate for the last two years and were reelected in November
·       8 of the 35 were in the House of Representatives the last two years and “reelected” to the Senate
·       There are no former legislators returning to the Senate this term
·       6 of the 35 will be serving in the legislature for the first time


The House of Representatives

·       The House has 70 members

·       The partisan split shows 62 Republicans and 8 Democrats (last session had 59 Rs and 11 Ds)

·       46 of the 70 served in the House for the last two years and were reelected last November
·       3 of the 70 served in the Senate for the last two years and were “reelected” to the House
·       7 of the 70 are former legislators that did not serve last term and returning to the House
·       14 of the 70 are serving in the legislature for the first time


·       The Legislature has 105 members; 35 in the Senate and 70 in the House of Representatives.

·       67 of the 105 were reelected to the Senate or House they served in for the last two years
·       11 of the 105 have switched to the other entity (8 from House to Senate; 3 from Senate to House)
·       7 of the 105 are former legislators that are returning to the legislature (all serving in the House)
·       20 of the 105 will be serving for the first time (6 in the Senate; 14 in the House)

What do these legislators do in their real lives?  Below you will find the members of the legislature listed by occupation.  One might think in a rural state like South Dakota that farmers would be the largest group of people serving in the state’s legislature after all they have plenty of time on their hands during the winter.  This is not the case here where the largest group has business experience, many with combined farm/ranch/business.

Here is the breakdown of the legislator occupations:

Business/Professional - 54

Retired - 13

Attorney - 11

Agriculture (Farm/Ranch) - 12

Agriculture/Business - 5

Educators - 5

  Healthcare - 5


Leadership. Below you will find the legislators that have been elected by their respective caucuses to be leaders of each caucus:


            President of the Senate Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden

            President Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck (Dist. 5, Watertown)

            Majority Leader Gary Cammack (Dist. 29, Union Center)

            Assistant Majority Leader Michael Diedrich (Dist. 34, Rapid City)

            Majority Whips:

                        Jim Bolin (Dist. 16, Canton)

                        Casey Crabtree (Dist. 8, Madison)

                        Helene Duhamel (Dist. 32, Rapid City)

                        Kyle Schoenfish (Dist. 19, Scotland)

            Minority Leader Troy Heinert (Dist. 26, Mission)

            Assistant Minority Leader Red Dawn Foster (Dist. 27, Pine Ridge)

            Minority Whip:

                        Reynold Nesiba (Dist. 15, Sioux Falls)


House of Representatives:

            Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch (Dist. 23, Glenham)

            Speaker Pro Tempore John Hansen (Dist. 25, Dell Rapids)

            Majority Leader Kent Peterson (Dist. 19, Salem)

            Assistant Majority Leader Chris Johnson (Dist. 32, Rapid City)

            Majority Whips:

                        Kirk Chaffee (Dist. 29, Whitewood)

                        Tim Goodwin (Dist. 30, Rapid City)

                        Kevin D. Jensen (Dist. 16, Canton)

                        Rebecca Reimer (Dist. 26B, Chamberlain)

                        Marli Wiese (Dist. 8, Madison)

            Minority Leader Jamie Smith (Dist. 15, Sioux Falls)

            Assistant Minority Leader Oren Lesmeister (Dist. 28A, Parade)

            Minority Whips:

                        Shawn Bordeaux (Dist. 26A, Mission)

                        Erin Healy (Dist. 14, Sioux Falls)


2021 Senate and House Committee Schedules

Senate Standing Committees

** Denotes Chair - * Denotes Vice Chair

Agriculture and Natural Resources 
Meets: TTh, 10 am, Rm 423 

**Smith (V.J.), *Klumb, Cammack, Duvall, Frye-Mueller, Heinert, Otten (Herman)

Meets: MTWThF, 8 am, Appropriations 362

**Hunhoff, *Breitling, Greenfield (Brock), Johnson (David), Kolbeck, Maher, Nesiba, Sutton, Wiik

Commerce and Energy
Meets: TTh, 10 am, Rm 412

**Crabtree, *Schoenbeck, Foster, Novstrup, Stalzer, Steinhauer, Tobin, Wheeler, Zikmund 

Meets: TTh, 7:45 am, Rm 423 

**Curd, *Schoenfish, Bolin, Heinert, Smith (V.J.), Steinhauer, Tobin 

Government Operations and Audit  
Meets at the Call of the Chair, 7:45 am, Rm 363 

**Schoenfish, *Wheeler, Hunhoff, Nesiba, Steinhauer 

Health and Human Services  
Meets: MWF, 10 am, Rm 412 

**Steinhauer, *Tobin, Curd, Duvall, Foster, Rusch, Smith (V.J.) 

Meets: TTh, 7:45 am, Rm 413 

**Rusch, *Duhamel, Diedrich, Johns, Rohl, Schoenbeck, Wheeler 

Legislative Procedure  
Meets at the Call of the Chair, 10 am, Rm 413 

**Schoenbeck, *Cammack, Crabtree, Diedrich, Duhamel, Nesiba, Schoenfish 

Local Government  
Meets: MWF, 7:45 am, Rm 412 

**Otten (Herman) *Diedrich, Bolin, Cammack, Foster, Frye-Mueller, Klumb

Military & Veterans Affairs  

Meets at the Call of the Chair, 8 am, Rm TBA 

**Johnson (David), *Castleberry, Smith (V.J.), Stalzer, Zikmund 

Retirement Laws 
Meets at the Call of the Chair, 3 pm, Rm 412 

**Bolin, *Zikmund, Duvall, Heinert, Nesiba 

State Affairs 
Meets MWF, 10 am, Rm 414 

**Cammack, *Diedrich, Bolin, Crabtree, Duhamel, Heinert, Rohl, Schoenbeck, Schoenfish 

Meets: MWF, 10 am, Rm 423 

**Johns, *Symens, Castleberry, Klumb, Novstrup, Otten (Herman), Stalzer 

Meets: MWF, 7:45 am, Rm 423 
**Duvall, *Castleberry, Crabtree, Heinert, Schoenfish, Symens, Zikmund


House of Representatives Standing Committees

** Denotes Chair - * Denotes Vice Chair

Agriculture and Natural Resources
Meets: TTh, 7:45 am, Rm 414 

**Overweg, *Hoffman, Blare, Chase, Finck, Goodwin, Ladner, Lesmeister, Marty, Schneider, Vasgaard, Wink, York 

Meets: MTWThF, 8 am, Rm 362

**Karr, *Howard, Duba, Fitzgerald, Gross, Haugaard, May, Mills, Mulally 

Commerce and Energy
Meets: MWF, 10 am, Rm 464 

**Milstead, *Beal, Anderson, Bartels, Bordeaux, Ladner, Perry,  Reed, Schneider, Vasgaard, Weis, Weisgram, Willadsen 

Meets: MWF, 7:45 am, Rm 413 

**Greenfield (Lana), *Peterson (Sue), Bartels, Davis, Dennert, Deutsch, Healy, Jensen (Phil), Keintz, Marty, Miskimins, Mortenson, Odenbach, Soye, Stevens 

Government Operations and Audit
Meets at the Call of the Chair, Time: 10 am, Rm 413 

**Gross, *Otten (Ernie), Duba, Karr, Peterson (Sue) 

Health and Human Services 
Meets: TTh 7:45 am, Rm 412 

**Jensen (Kevin), *Deutsch, Aylward, Davis, Healy, Jensen (Phil), Keintz, Miskimins, Perry, Rehfeldt, St. John, Weis, Wiese 

Meets: MWF, 10 am, Rm 413 

**Hansen, *Stevens, Aylward, Barthel, Cwach, Odenbach, Peterson (Sue), Pischke, Pourier, Rehfeldt, Reimer, Soye, St. John 

Legislative Procedure 
Meets at the Call of the Chair, Time: 10:30 am, Rm 413 

**Gosch, *Hansen, Finck, Haugaard, Healy, Johnson (Chris) Peterson (Kent) 

Local Government  
Meets: TTh, 10 am, Rm 414 

**York, *Jamison, Barthel, Cwach, Drury, Greenfield (Lana), Hoffman, Johnson (Chris), Mortenson, Olson, Reed, Thomason, Weisgram 

Military & Veterans Affairs  
Meets at the Call of the Chair, Time: 3 pm, Rm: TBA 

**Randolph, *Gross, Deutsch, Drury, Goodwin, Howard, Johnson (Chris), Marty, Olson, Overweg, Pourier, Tidemann, York 

Retirement Laws  
Meets at the Call of the Chair, Time: 3 pm, Rm 413 

**Bartels, *Tidemann, Cwach, Duba, Perry 

State Affairs  
Meets MWF 7:45 am, Rm 414 

**Peterson (Kent), *Johnson (Chris), Anderson, Beal, Chaffee, Goodwin, Gosch, Hansen, Jensen (Kevin), Lesmeister, Reimer, Smith (Jamie), Wiese 

Meets: TTh, 7:45 am, Rm 464 

**Dennert, *Pischke, Chaffee, Derby, Drury, Jamison, Koth, Olson, Otten (Ernie), Pourier, Randolph, Thomason, Tidemann 

Meets: TTh, 10 am, Rm 413 

**Finck, *Blare, Bordeaux, Chase, Derby, Koth, Milstead, Otten (Ernie), Overweg, Randolph, Tidemann, Willadsen, Wink


Hardcopies of the 2021 Legislative Handbook will be available at the South Dakota Chamber office, 222 E Capitol, Suite 17, Pierre by Tuesday, January 12.  Each member business will receive a copy in the mail.


Business Day at the Legislature is Wednesday, February 17.  Save the date!

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