South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association Legislative Report
SDCA Executive Director
As we wrap up the fifth week of our eight-week session, there are still several issues of interest to cattlemen in play. We are nearing “Crossover Day” on February 24, the deadline by which all bills must pass their house of origin.
Education Funding: During our Annual Membership Meeting last December, SDCA members passed policy in support of the governor’s proposal to increase teacher pay. Per that direction from our members, SDCA has been a supporter of HB 1182, which proposes to increase the sales tax by a half a percent in order to increase teacher salaries and provide for property tax relief. Several legislators have taken note of our support for HB 1182 and acknowledge the urgent need to take action if conservative organizations like SDCA are supportive of providing additional funding for teachers.
After two delays postponed the debate and vote on the House floor, HB 1182 failed to receive the 47 votes necessary to pass – a two-thirds majority is required for a tax increase. At the time of this writing, we anticipate there will be a motion to reconsider, which is likely to be supported, potentially leading to another vote in the House sometime the week of February 22. Please contact your representative and encourage them to vote in favor of HB 1182.
Livestock Development: Several working groups met throughout the summer on issues related to county zoning and the Family Farm Act. SB 98 clarifies that pork production is to be treated the same as other species under the Family Farm Act. It passed the Senate 26-9 and awaits a hearing by the House Ag committee. HB 1140 seeks to improve the county zoning process, to stop an endless cycle of delays from outside activist groups. It passed the House 51-18 and has been referred to the Senate Local Government committee for hearing.
Private Property Rights: HB 1202, which would have required landowners to provide access to abandoned cemeteries and gravesites on private land, was tabled in the House on a vote of 66-2 after SDCA and SD Farm Bureau raised concerns regarding private property rights.
Animal Care: SDCA also opposed SB 157, which would have set state standards for cat and dog breeding operations, including standards of care, in statute. Currently, most commercial pet breeding operations in our state are federally licensed through USDA and a state program would have been redundant. SDCA also had concerns about the precedent the bill would have set and the potential future expansion to establishing standards of care for livestock in state statute. We were pleased the Senate Judiciary Committee sent the bill to the 41st Legislative Day (there is a maximum of 40 days during the Session) on a vote of 5-1, however we anticipate the bill’s supporters will try again.
We encourage you to sign up for SDCA’s weekly legislative update by emailing email@example.com. For more information about these bills or to contact your legislator, visit the Legislative Research Council’s website at http://legis.sd.gov/. For more information about SDCA, visit our website at http://www.sdcattlemen.org.