Legislative Update

Having lobbyist Brenda Forman as boots on the ground in Pierre provides for a legislative update.  Please see attached. I would flag out 2 priorities: first that HB 1153 is scheduled to be heard on the Senate floor this afternoon and second that the resolution opposing the merger (SRD 901) will also be heard on Senate floor today.  It is not too late to contact your Senator to urge support of HB 1153 and oppose SRD 901 in alignment with SDDP positions.

Thank you and call with questions.


Tom Peterson
Executive Director, South Dakota Dairy Producers
1011 Heritage Drive
Madison, SD 57042

March 5, 2021 Legislative Update

Once More Unto the Breach

One of the tools available to legislators is the “Smoke-Out” rule, which is a way of bringing a bill back from the dead after a standing committee has either tabled or deferred a bill to the 41st Day.  During this past week, the Senate smoked out four bills, and the House smoked out one.  These tend to be more contentious issues, so bringing a bill to the floor for debate gives both proponents and opponents an extra chance to lobby legislators on the bill.  

The House smoked out SB 105, dealing with teen drivers.

The Senate smoked out HB 1440, the “open fields” bill; HB 1217, providing for fairness in girls’ sports; HB 1212, to clarify the use of force; and HB 1075, dealing with extreme risk protection orders.

The End is Nigh 

Next week is the final week of the Main Run.  Monday is the last day for all bills and joint resolutions to pass both chambers.  The final three days are reserved for conference committee work and finalizing the budget.  This is also a time when legislators start turning their attention to potential interim study topics, working out the calendar for next year’s legislative session, and doing preliminary work on the upcoming legislative redistricting Special Session, which has been set for November 8-9 in Pierre.

Wherefore Art the Facts? 

Yesterday the Senate Ag Committee took up the resolution disapproving of the DENR/Ag merger.  It was kind of interesting to see the lineup of those who oppose the merger, including one general farm organization, some wildlife groups, and some environmental groups.  Those who support the merger include several agricultural groups.

As with any discussion like this, there was an impressive amount of speculation about the effects of the merger.  The resolution of disapproval was sent to the Senate floor on a 4-3 vote, for the full body to discuss on Monday.

By resolution, SDDP voted to support the merge with gains through elimination of duplicate services, streamlining staff time and reducing overall program costs.  SDDP also believes that agriculture, conservation and natural resources (environment) go hand-in-hand. 

PLEASE email YOUR senator and ask them to Oppose SRD 901! Tell them the merger is good for South Dakota Agriculture. 

How poor are they that have not patience!

The final details of this year’s legislative session will be handled largely by the appropriations committee, as they wrap up a year with an unprecedented amount of one-time money available to allocate and lots of enthusiastic ideas from legislators.

SDDP’s priority HB 1153, the appropriations request for the design and construction of the new dairy research and extension farm on South Dakota State University remains active.  It has been reduced to $1 which keeps in on the list for possible funding.  It is scheduled to be heard on the Senate floor on Monday, March 8.  

PLEASE email YOUR senator and urge them to support HB 1153 with funding restored to $7.5 million. 

Other funding bills and their current status

SB 34 – $100 million for broadband expansion.  $75 million from the general fund and $25 million from Coronavirus Relief Funds.  Passed the Senate on a unanimous vote and is on the House floor.

HB 1210 – $20 million for the BioPro Facility on the Research Park in Brookings.  Passed the House 47-19, was unanimously approved by the Senate Appropriations committee, and will be on the Senate floor on Monday.

SB 93 – $20 million to help rehabilitate the rail line between Ft. Pierre and Rapid City.  Passed the Senate unanimously and will be on the House floor on Monday.

SB 99 – $20 million for the DEX (Dakota Events CompleX) at the State Fair Grounds.  Approved by the Senate on a 34-1 vote and will be voted on Monday by the House.

SB 48 – $21.5 million to buy-down the bonds for Technical Colleges.  Passed the Senate 34-1 and will be on the House floor on Monday.

HB 1144 – $7 million for a capital improvement project at Lake Area Technical College. Tabled in House Appropriations.

HB 1152 – $5 million for a precision ag building at Mitchell Technical College.  Tabled in House Appropriations

HB 1153 – $2 for the Dairy Research Farm at SDSU.  Passed the House 53-15, and was amended in Senate Appropriations to keep the bill alive…

HB 1240 – $2 million to redesign Berg Hall at SDSU.  Deferred to the 41st Day.

SB 191 – $600,000 to do a planning study for renovating the Meat Lab at SDSU.  Passed Joint Committee on Appropriations on a 10-8 vote.

SB 192 – $3.5 million to renovate and upgrade the Cottonwood Field Station.  Passed the Souse unanimously and will be on the House floor on Monday.

HB 1256 – $1 for small bridges/culverts on county secondary and township roads.  This will be on the Senate floor on Monday, with discussions still underway about what this program should look like and how much money should be included.

And a bonus – $435,000 for Precision Ranching work being done by the Ag Experiment Station is buried in the general appropriations bill, which is idling in Senate Appropriations Committee.


“The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race.”  ~ Don Marquis