Our first week of session has already come and gone. Things started with the State of the State, the State of the Judiciary, and the State of the Tribes. The State of the Tribes address given Thursday marks the first time in the history of South Dakota that a Tribal Leader gave a speech to the people of South Dakota at the Speaker’s podium of the People’s House. The speech was a sharp reminder that life is very different on the reservation and we need to work together to make all of South Dakota a better place for all of her residents.
The State of the State brought up the Blue Ribbon Task Force and Medicaid expansion, just as predicted in the Budget Address, but those are the proposals. The Governor has asked for his way to accomplish his goals, and we in the Legislature will now discover our way to accomplish our goals, and we’ll see if we can agree when it’s over.
There are other bills to watch for. The first bills filed are primarily agency bills, which are state agencies cleaning up a few details, updating codes, and modernizing language. However, there are a few in there that will garner much attention. I was interviewed by a local radio station over the weekend, and the interviewer asked me what bill was going to draw a lot of controversy, and I suggested HB 1008 would fit that bill. According to published reports, the ACLU is sending extra staff to oppose that bill, and when the interviewer asked what the bill was about, I simply stated the bill is intended to keep those born as girls in girls’ locker rooms and showers, those born as boys in boys’ locker rooms and showers, and anyone who doesn’t fit into the above two categories uses a private restroom or shower. The interviewer asked what was controversial about that, and like I said, I found nothing either. The ACLU does, however, and the discussions will begin.
This week will see the number of bills begin to skyrocket, committees will begin hearing bills and we’ll take our first real votes. This is the time the days start to get a little longer. If you’d like to reach me, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks for the opportunity to serve you in Pierre.