2019 Venture Capitol - July 22 Issue

Special Events


South Dakota Chamber Of Commerce - Venture Capitol
July 22, 2019

July Brings New Laws

Bills passed during the 2019 Legislative Session are now the

“Law of the Land”


The 2019 Legislative Session saw

  •  463 bills introduced
  •  217 of which passed, 2 of which were vetoed, for a total of 215 (46% - passed)
  •  32 of the passed bills had an “emergency clause” – making them effective when signed
  •  183 remaining became law three weeks ago on July 1st
  •  15 of these new laws have the most direct impact on businesses in South Dakota


How sparse can results get?  Over 450 bills get boiled down to 15 that really count for the business community.  A second thought might conclude that when it comes to new laws – as in golf – the smaller the number, the better the outcome.

The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry works during each session to read and understand all 450+ pieces of legislation.  The following summary of 15 new laws focuses on those that are of the most interest to chamber members.  Not mentioned in this report are the myriad bills that were harmful to business that were defeated during the session.

Below is a list of those 15 bills from the Chamber Legislative Research Council (LRC) list.  If any member is interested in the details of any of these bills, simply click on the bill number and it will open the bill summary page on the LRC website.  The text of the bill is at the bottom of that page.  If members have any questions on any bill, either listed here or one that has been discussed elsewhere, please contact the Chamber at 1-800-742-8112.

Here is a brief summary of the most significant of the new laws:






HB 1034

revise certain provisions regarding unemployment insurance contribution rates.  CHAMBER COMMENTS:  Fulfilling the commitment of the Department of Labor to keep the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund level close to 160% of the average paid out during the worst three recessions.  The fund is at that level, so the rates will be reduced.  Businesses will see the lower payments in March of 2020, after the first quarter of next year.


HB 1035

rename the unemployment insurance program to the reemployment assistance program.  CHAMBER COMMENTS:  Unemployment Insurance (UI) chooses a new focus, new name.  Getting people back to work is the real goal of the Department of Labor - thus a name change from UI to “Reemployment Assistance”.  Not a bad idea but one must admit – it has enough “spin” to create its own magnetic field.  


HB 1050

revise certain provisions regarding the use and possession of scanning devices and reencoders.  CHAMBER COMMENTS:  Updates laws prohibiting the use of scanning devices and encoders to steal information from credit/debit card magnetic strips to include the chips on the cards and to make actually owning these devices without authorization against the law.


HB 1054

revise certain provisions regarding the possession of firearms on certain vehicles.  CHAMBER COMMENTS:  This bill is fun.  People are allowed to carry firearms concealed in a case or holster while driving an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV).  ATV is defined in statute as having a “saddle and handlebars”.  Next comes the Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV), which has seats and steering wheels and as such were not included in the law allowing firearms to be carried in a case or holster.  Carrying a shotgun between your teeth would be legal – keeping the firearm visible just didn’t seem a good answer – hence this bill.


HB 1074

provide a privilege for journalists and newscasters regarding refusal to disclose information.  CHAMBER COMMENTS:  Protects journalists – meaning those working for formal news organizations – from legal consequences for not disclosing confidential sources.  This not only protects the journalist but also the confidential source.  This is a new law that will protect businesses that are reporting wrongdoing and will vex businesses being accused of misdeeds by those “confidential sources”.


HB 1103

establish a lemon law for certain farm machinery.  CHAMBER COMMENTS:  Cars and motorcycles have long had “lemon laws” that extend protection to consumers for problem vehicles.  No such protections have been offered to the buyers of farm equipment, until now.  Farm equipment is used in a wide variety of conditions that can make pinpointing the cause of equipment malfunctions more difficult than a standard vehicle that is used on a road.  Balancing the need to protect consumers without placing undo or unfair burdens on dealerships or manufacturers can be tricky.  The Chamber checked with manufacturers of farm equipment and found no real concerns about this new bill which is now law.


HB 1111

provide for professional or occupational licensure for certain active duty military personnel and spouses.  CHAMBER COMMENTS:  Military personnel move frequently.  This means any spouses, or even the service person themselves, who are employed in a profession or trade that has a license or certificate is faced with constantly renewing those licenses in order to work in the new place.  This bill will make it possible for those related to a military assignment to keep working as long as they have a valid license or certificate in their former location.  This means our military families can keep their incomes flowing and not have to wait for weeks or months to get to work.  This bill was also key to the Pentagon’s awarding the training mission for the B-21 bombers to Ellsworth Air Force Base. 


HB 1196

provide a definition of block-chain technology for certain purposes.  CHAMBER COMMENTS:  This bill puts a workable definition of “block-chain technology” in South Dakota statutes.  No, the Chamber cannot explain how “block-chain” technology works beyond understanding that it is a key to the use of cyber currency such as Bitcoin and other transactions needing high levels of security.  This bill was brought forward by a committee of the South Dakota Bar Association which doesn’t mean it’s automatically good, but makes it hard to argue with.


HB 1202

revise the number of qualified directors of a corporation needed to take certain actions.  CHAMBER COMMENTS:  The law requires that members of a corporation board of directors make decisions that are in the best interest of the corporation.  When the board votes on items that a member has disclosed to have a conflict of interest (such as a partial ownership in a subcontractor), the law requires that at least two independent directors agree with that decision.  Most corporations in South Dakota have boards that are very small and are comprised of family members, making the requirement of having two independent directors affirm that decision impractical.  The law now requires only one independent director affirm a decision that involves a disclosed conflict of interest.  If this new law comes anywhere near to affecting your business – check details with an attorney.


HB 1272

provide for remote notarization. CHAMBER COMMENTSThis new law means you don’t have to be in same room as a Notary Public to have them sign and notarize a document.  The new law says if the Notary Public knows the person signing the document, they can witness the signing via remote video, such as Facetime, and put their seal on the actual document later.  Note – the Notary has to know the person, the law doesn’t require that they like them.


SB 12

revise certain provisions pertaining to the disqualification of commercial driver license holders for failure to consent to chemical analyses.  CHAMBER COMMENTSThe current law has says commercial drivers can have their licenses suspended for failing to agree to blood tests for alcohol.  When this was passed initially it only mentioned alcohol and testing using blood.  The new law broadens the tests beyond blood to “bodily fluids” and adds “drugs”.  It also placed this language in the correct section of law to make sure it was listed with other reasons for suspending a license.  If you employ CDL drivers, you want to make sure your HR staff understands these changes.


SB 37

revise certain provisions regarding association health plans.  CHAMBER COMMENTSThis bill sets South Dakota up to take advantage of changes at the Federal level regarding how businesses purchase health insurance.  This bill sets up rules for certain associations or groups of businesses (like members of the Chamber of Commerce) to purchase health plans as a group.  The Chamber is looking at this new law and working to understand the new possibilities for insurance. 


SB 47

repeal and revise certain provisions regarding permits to carry a concealed pistol.  CHAMBER COMMENTSThe new law allows people in South Dakota to carry a concealed weapon without applying and paying for a conceal carry permit.  Now, it is not against the law if you should put a coat on over your firearm.  Permits are still available and necessary for reciprocity in other states.  And, the laws that prohibit some people from being allowed to conceal a firearm are still in place, such as being guilty of a violent crime, habitually intoxicated or drugged, a history of violence, or a danger to others.  Concealing a firearm if someone fits those conditions is still a violation of the law.


SB 59

revise certain provisions regarding public records. CHAMBER COMMENTSLawsuits are quite often settled with the parties to the suit agreeing to keep the settlement confidential and secret.  SB 59 will not allow lawsuits that involve public money and contracts between businesses and government agencies to agree to that kind of secrecy.  As a basic rule, the law now says if you get into a dust-up with a public entity over a contract involving public money, however the lawsuit gets settled, it will be a public document.  There are exceptions, of course, and the Chamber advises looking at this new law before you head to the courthouse.


SB 179

revise the property tax levies for the general fund of school districts and to revise the state aid to education formula.  CHAMBER COMMENTSCutler/Gabriel School tax adjustment.  South Dakota uses increased taxable valuations to reduce tax levies by limiting the growth of local government revenue and by having the state set the levies for school general funds and special education levies.  General fund levies for next year (2020) will be reduced from 7.001 mils to 6.821 mils.  The special education levies will increase from 1.56 mils to 1.62 mils.  This combination will reduce the tax bill on a business with a taxable value of $500 thousand dollars from $4,284 to $4,219, a savings of $65 dollars.  


Future event dates: 

Economic Outlook Seminar:  Tuesday, October 1, 2019 in Sioux Falls

Business Day at the Legislature:  Thursday, February 20, 2020 in Pierre

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


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