SD Stockgrowers legislative update
March 13, 2018
The 2018 session is done save for veto day (and, so far, the governor has vetoed no bills).
The legislature settled, for now, the non-meandering water issue. They produced a balanced budget that included funding for the precision ag center as well as small increases in pay for teachers, state employees, and Medicaid providers. They made a number of changes to the initiative, referendum, and election processes. They passed a number of bills that increased exceptions for craft brewers and made changes to other laws governing alcohol production, promotion, and sales. They authorized a state veterans' cemetery in Sioux Falls. And, they voted to increase their pay from $6,000 per year to $11,800 per year – one fifth of median household income in SD.
Stockgrowers' Legislative Issues
SB 29, the Brand Board's proposal for fee increases was amended in House Ag. That amendment (to cut the proposed fee increase by 30 – 40) was supported by the full House. However the Senate rejected the amendment. A conference committee comprised of three Senators and three Representatives met Thursday but couldn't reach a consensus. Finally the conferees decided to kill the bill altogether and thus give the Ag. Dept. time to revisit the assumptions underlying the proposed fee increases (which will not go into effect until 2020). Representatives Rhoden and Brunner also would like to see a task force or summer study group do a comprehensive review of Brand Board procedures and fees between now and the 2019 legislative session.
2018 Session Summary
Our bill (SB 156) to give the Brand Board the option to do requested brand inspections out of the brand inspection district passed both Houses with strong support and is awaiting the governor's signature.
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HB 1219, to permit night hunting with written permission from a landowner rather than the current law which requires the landowner to be present with folks hunting at night was signed by the governor.
HB 1139, the bill to amend laws relating to adverse possession on fence lines passed both Houses and awaits the governor's approval. This bill has raised questions among our membership as to new requirements for landowners in a situation where their land, or their neighbor's land, is on the wrong side of the fence. The bill, by our read, does no harm but, neither does it appear to provide any benefit. Consequently, Gary testified against the bill in Senate Ag. Committee.
Stockgrowers, working with the oil industry, Farmers' Union and Dakota Rural Action killed SB 33 in committee. SB 33 would have eliminated the oil and gas mediation program established three years ago as a result of the oil and gas summer study. David Niemi's testimony was particularly helpful here.
Working with Rep. Ahlers, Ag. Secretary Jaspers, and the Cattlemen, Stockgrowers headed off an attempt to entirely strike the SD Certified Beef Program from statute. Our Board was concerned about the potential for abuse of the SD Certified Beef trademark if that was to fall into the wrong hands and sought to have an opportunity to explore creative uses or changes to the program rather than simply kill it. Secretary Jaspers joined one of our Wednesday morning calls to discuss the issue with the Board and Stockgrower members. A deal was struck to work with the Ag. Dept. in the coming year to find value in the program.
–South Dakota Stockgrowers Association