We appreciate your attention to a crucial part of conducting business in the Black Hills: following public policy
to understand what precedes major change (and obstacles) that impact you and your employees.
Where are all the bills?
As of Sunday evening, here is what’s been dropped in the queue by the legislators so far:

House Bills: 84
Senate Bills:103
Includes resolutions

These numbers should at least double over the next two weeks. This Thursday (Jan. 28) is the last day for unlimited bill introduction, and then the following week (Feb. 4) is the last day to introduce individual bills and resolutions. We are still anticipating the event of a “bill drop” where seemingly hundreds bills are filed at the same time – which makes for a long night of review for those who try to have eyes on every bill draft! Until then, acclimating to technology changes and a backlog at LRC seems to be keeping the flow of bills into the filing system rather sluggish. 

One thing to note is the amount of Senate bills versus what’s been introduced in the House. It’s more common for the House to bring a higher quantity of bills. We’ll wait and see for the final tally, but this may be an interesting insight into the changing personalities of the respective chambers as members flip back and forth. 
Legislation Watch
Elevate will use this newsletter platform throughout Session to highlight bills of importance as well as the others that are simply interesting.

You can follow any specific legislation of interest through the LRC site at www.sdlegislature.gov.
Bills we’re supporting:

Status: Passed the House State Affairs Committee 12-1 as amended.

HB 1046 limits lawsuits against businesses brought by people looking to recover damages from exposure to COVID-19. Elevate offered our support for the bill, along with a comprehensive list of over 40 statewide supporters that include the SD Chamber and Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce. Three organizations appeared to oppose the bill: the SD Education Association, the SD Federation of Labor, and AARP South Dakota.

There was a sunset clause added to the bill through an amendment, as was the insertion of “gross negligence” to ensure health care providers would be held accountable if an action met a gross negligence standard.

Overall, the work done by the attorneys who are working the bill as well as the attorneys on the House State Affairs committee was impressive. We look forward to the bill passing on the House floor this week. 

Will appropriate $5M of one-time funding $5,000,000 in one-time funding to support a meat processing grant program to assist South Dakota meat processors in responding to market and workforce disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s important to note that this grant program will not be available to the large meat processing facilities (think: Smithfield), and is geared to support the smaller facilities like the ones we have out in the Black Hills region. Click here for more information on the program.

Will appropriate $3.2M of one-time funding to the South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority for the Liberty Wellness Center that will support our military community at Ellsworth Air Force Base (EAFB) and in Box Elder.

With the incoming B-21 Raider construction, EAFB is projected to lose the use of the Pride Hangar, a large hangar space that is currently being utilized as a large-scale fitness and recreation facility on base. The proposed Liberty Center located in Box Elder will be a center for community wellness and connection as well as an anchor for development of the area that aligns with quality-of-life needs of both the local military and civilian community.
Bills we’re watching: 
Would require that all legal and other official notices be published on the South Dakota Newspaper Association’s public notice website or on a non-paywalled portion of a legal newspaper’s website. This is more expensive for cities and counties – just an interesting one to follow.

Establishes an annual $100 fee for certain electric motor vehicles to go to the State Highway Fund.

Would authorizes the transfer of wind energy tax revenue from a school district general fund. Could our region benefit from including solar tax revenue as well?

Would require that birth certificates reflect biological sex. Unsure how much traction this will get.

Extends the issuance period for commercial learner's permits. A good measure to support workforce!

Would authorize, regulate, and tax wagering on sporting events within the city limits of Deadwood. This is an Administration bill that ensures sports wagering can only happen in Deadwood, SD. Not such an issue to our region, but other communities wanting to be part of the fun will be concerned about this one.

Revises property tax levies for school districts and to revise the state aid to general and special education formulas. This happens every year and dictates any levy adjustment that seeks to balance the normal increase in home and other property values. The levy numbers will change as over the next few weeks but the first draft reduces these levies by 2.4%. These tax rates will be applied to the increased value of your home or office.

Makes an appropriation to build a bison visitors center in Custer State Park and to declare an emergency.

Exempts health benefit plans sponsored by nonprofit agricultural organizations from insurance regulation.

Requires that certain proposed rules include an affordable housing impact statement. I believe this is a good step in raising awareness for the critical lack of affordable housing in the state – more data is always welcomed!

Makes an appropriation to rehabilitate the RCP&E rail line.

Revise certain provisions regarding the use of telehealth technologies. This would make permanent the flexibilities afforded to telehealth during COVID-19. 

Urges the members of South Dakota's congressional delegation to vote against any act admitting the District of Columbia as a separate state.
What’s going on with marijuana?
The Governor has recommended appropriations for implementation of the programs, but the bill below is still the only legislation offered so far:

House Bill 1061 – Rep. Mary Fitzgerald (R-31)
Status: Awaiting hearing in House Judiciary

HB 1061 would prohibit smoking marijuana and its derivatives in a motor vehicle and create a penalty therefor.

What issues or questions do you have about the legalization of marijuana? What should legislators know from the Black Hills business community about the changes and impact you anticipate? Please email me your comments!
2021 Crackerbarrels
This year's Crackerbarrels are scheduled for January 30, February 20, 27 and March 6.

All events will be held at the Western Dakota Tech Event Center from 9-11 a.m. Learn more at at elevaterapidcity.com.
Business Day at the Legislature
The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce will host a 2021 Virtual Business Day at the Legislature this year on February 17. Click here for more information and registration. 

Thanks for your support of Elevate Rapid City. Until next week!
Is there a legislative issue impacting your business?
Connect with Anna and submit a request.
Know someone who is interested in pro-business advocacy?