2021 Capitol-ism: March 2 Homestretch

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

March 2, 2021

Homestretch – Bills Have Crossed Over or Died


Last Thursday was the key date in every legislative session that is known as “crossover” day.  Crossover day is when bills introduced in the House must have passed the House of Representatives and bills introduced in the Senate must have passed the Senate.  This applies to non-appropriation bills which have a crossover deadline that is delayed by a week.

This legislative session has seen 477 bills introduced and historically about half of them will ultimately pass.  Many bills have already been eliminated.  During the remaining two weeks, the House and Senate will deal with the ideas the other chamber thought had merit or didn’t want to be blamed for killing.

Good Luck All.  Here is look at some of the key ideas that are still alive . . . for now.


Opening the Initiative Process - SB 123require a comment period for the attorney general’s statement regarding initiated measures and initiated amendments.  Sen. Diedrich (R-Rapid City) and 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.  Whether a ballot measure is placed on the ballot by gathering signatures or is a Constitutional Amendment placed on the ballot by the Legislature, the measure must have an official explanation written by the office of the Attorney General.

Currently, the Attorney General has 60 days to write a 200 word explanation for every ballot measure that is printed on signature sheets and, most importantly, is also printed on every ballot.  It is arguable, and perhaps a bit regrettable, that this statement may be on the only information many voters every see about ballot measures as they actually cast their ballot.

SB 123 gives the Attorney General’s office the full 60 days to draft the statement but then requires that the statement be posted on the AG’s website with a media release telling the public that they can see the draft and make comments.  Those comments are collected and reviewed by the Attorney General’s staff for ten days.  After the ten days, the AG staff has an additional ten days to write and release the final explanation.

The result of allowing the public, including the proponents and opponents of a given ballot measure, an opportunity to suggest changes in the Official Explanation is also adding 20 days to the process of getting those measures ready to gather signatures.  Put another way, it shortens that signature gathering period by 20 days.

Assigned to House Local Government Committee, SB 123 had a hearing on February 25th and was approved by House Local Government on a vote of 13-Yea to 0-Nay.


Banning Transgender Students in School Sports – HB 1217 - promote continued fairness in women's sports. Milstead (R-Hartford)

HB 1217 requires school athletic teams to be male, female or coed and that participation on those teams determined and furthers requires: A team or sport designated as being female is available only to participants who are female, based on their biological sex, as verified in accordance with § 13-67-2.  

To establish which team or sport students must compete this new law will require:

Once each school year and before permitting a student to participate on an athletic team or in a sport, the sponsoring or sanctioning entity shall obtain a written statement verifying:

(1) The student's age;

(2) The student's biological sex, as ascertained at or before birth in accordance with the student's genetics and reproductive biology; and

(3) That the student is not taking and has not taken, during the preceding twelve months, any performance enhancing drugs, including anabolic steroids.


HB 1217 is an outright ban on students that identify with a gender that is different than the “biological sex as ascertained at or before birth” from playing in a sport or on a team that matches that identity.  Under current law, this situation is under the control of the South Dakota High School Athletics Association which deals with these students on a case-by-case basis working with the local school officials.

The fact is that these cases are extremely rare and have been handled in a manner that has not attracted any wide spread accusations of either intolerance or unfairness.

Proponents of HB 1217 have created the impression that there will be a massive movement of male students pretending to be transgender and signing up for girls’ sports and teams so they can win titles and tournaments.  This has not happened.  This is not going to happen.  The supporters keep repeating that without HB 1217 there will be no girls’ sports or girls sport teams because they cannot compete with males whose testosterone levels make that competition unfair.

And, while they have a point, they ignore the fact that a male student pretending to be a transgender person doesn’t get to identify as a girl just for sports but must live as a female all day and in the off season, a price that has not been in evidence to this point.

Economic Sanctions.  Bills similar to HB 1217 have resulted in cancelled conventions, top level entertainers and sanctioned tournaments.  A growing number of businesses are opposed to policies that discriminate against entire classes of people, such as transgender people.  The Chamber is opposed to HB 1217.

This bill passed State Affairs on a vote of 11-Yea to 2-Nay and passed the House of Representatives on a vote of 50-Yea to 17-Nay.  The Senate will start its review of the bill soon. 


Wanna Bet? - Sports Betting in South Dakota

Casino gambling in South Dakota is authorized by the State’s Constitution which makes reference to “inside the city limits of Deadwood”.  Last fall there was a ballot measure to expand the kind of gambling that could be offered in South Dakota to include betting on sports and sports teams.

Amendment B passed with 58% of the vote but there was a question that never seemed to get an answer.  Would the betting have to be done in Deadwood itself or could people place sports bets in cities other than Deadwood with the money flowing through a Deadwood Casino?  This is a similar situation to the one used in New Jersey in regards to Atlantic City.

It needs to be noted here that Federal Law allows Tribal Governments on Reservations in any state to have the same authorization granted by the laws of the state to its citizens.  Using this law, there are several casinos on reservations throughout South Dakota and they will be able to offer any betting on sports that will be offered in or through Deadwood.

Governor Wins.  There were three bills offered this session, each representing a different method of sports betting.  The only bill that has survived to this point is SB 44 which was requested by the Governor.  It is the narrowest method for sports betting requiring bets be placed within the city limits of Deadwood and within a casino.

Here are the titles and a brief description of all three bills.

SB 44 - authorize, regulate, and tax wagering on sporting events within the city limits of Deadwood and within a casino – requested by the Department of Revenue on behalf of the Governor.

o   Passed the Senate on a vote of 32-Yea to 2-Nay.  Referred to House State Affairs Committee.

SB 1211, authorize, regulate, and tax wagering on sporting events.  Rep. Willadsen (R-Sioux Falls)

This bill would allow bets to be made in any business that has a full beverage license in the state with the money flowing through a casino in Deadwood. 

o   Bill was heard in House State Affairs Committee and was deferred to 41st day on a vote of 9-Yea to 4-Nay  

HB 1231 authorize, regulate, and tax wagering on sporting events within the city limits of Deadwood   
and provide a penalty for a violation thereof. 
Pischke (R-Dell Rapids) 

This bill would allow sports gambling to be done anywhere on smart phones or computers with the money needing to pass through a casino in Deadwood.

o   Taxation committee deferred to the 41st day on a vote of 11-Yea to 1-Nay (bill sponsor)



HB 1100 –
modify the medical marijuana program and to create an interim committee to recommend implementation of the medical marijuana programGosch (R-Glenham)

Approved by House State Affairs Committee on a vote of 10-Yea to 3-Nay.

Deferred with rule 5-17 on floor.

HB 1225 - establish provisions concerning the sale of adult-use retail marijuana.  Derby (R-Rapid City).

Would allow recreational marijuana to be sold at any business with a malt liquor license.  Hearing set for this morning (2/24).  Chamber Opposed. 

HJR 5003 - Proposing and submitting to the voters at the 2022 primary election a new section to Article XI of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, relating to a three-fifths requirement for certain initiated constitutional amendments or measures. Hanson (R-Dell Rapids)

This will establish a “super majority” of 3/5th (60%) for an initiated measure that increases any tax or spends more than $10 million dollars a year.  Proponents argue that tax increases or significantly large expenditures should require a high threshold since they will cost all taxpayers money.  The Legislature is required to have a 2/3rds vote (66%) for tax or fee increases.

The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry did not take a position on HJR 5003. 

This resolution was Approved by the House of Representatives on a vote of 56-Yea to 12-Nay back on February 16th and had a hearing in Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday (3/01).  The State Affairs Committee approved HJR 5003 on a vote of 6-Yea to 3-Nay.

Here is the House Vote on the resolution:

The question being "Shall HJR 5003 pass as amended?"

And the roll being called: 28 Yeas, Nays 12, Excused 2, Absent 0

Yeas: Anderson, Aylward, Bartels, Barthel, Beal, Blare, Chaffee, Chase, Davis, Dennert, Deutsch, Drury, Finck, Fitzgerald, Goodwin, Lana Greenfield, Gross, Hansen, Haugaard, Hoffman, Howard, Jamison, Kevin Jensen, Phil Jensen, Chris Johnson, Karr, Koth, Ladner, May, Mills, Milstead, Miskimins, Mortenson, Mulally, Odenbach, Ernie Otten, Overweg, Perry, Kent Peterson, Sue Peterson, Pischke, Randolph, Rehfeldt, Reimer, Schneider, Soye, St. John, Stevens, Thomason, Vasgaard, Weis, Weisgram, Wiese, Willadsen, York, and Speaker Gosch

Nays: Bordeaux, Cwach, Derby, Duba, Healy, Keintz, Lesmeister, Olson, Pourier, Reed, Jamie Smith, and Tidemann

Excused: 2 Marty and Wink


Capitol Week with David Owen

In this week's edition of Capitol Week with David Owen, learn about the Capitol staircase's mysterious upside-down baluster, get the latest info on marijuana and sports betting legislation and hear updates on other legislation.



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