Capitol-ism February 7, 2020

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South Dakota Chamber Of Commerce - Capitol-ism E-Newsletter
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February 7, 2020

Legislative Day 16

There are 290 House bills and 185 Senate bills for a total of 470.  Last year there were 463 bills.

HB 1142 - include post-traumatic stress disorder as a compensable injury for purposes of workers' compensation.  This bill will allow firefighters, law enforcement officers and people licensed to provide emergency medical services to file workers compensation claims for post-traumatic stress disorder.  The Chamber board has not taken a position\on this bill at this time.  It has not been scheduled for a hearing.  Arizona, Connecticut, and Ohio are also considering this legislation. 


It is also noteworthy that HB 1142 does not appear to have been presented to the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board which is the usual method for making these reforms.

Here are several sections of this bill

Section 2. That a NEW SECTION be added:

62-1-7.1. Post-traumatic stress disorder—Compensable injury.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, is a compensable injury for purposes of this title, if:


(1) The disorder is suffered by:

(a) A firefighter;

(b) A law enforcement officer;

(c) A person who is licensed to provide emergency medical services to a patient at the scene and during transportation to a medical facility; or

(d) A person who is employed at an emergency public safety answering point or dispatch center;


(2) The disorder was diagnosed by a psychiatrist; and


(3) There is clear and convincing evidence to demonstrate that the disorder was acquired as a result of trauma experienced within the scope of the person's employment.

For purposes of this section, trauma requires an exposure to another's grievous injury or death.

SB 70 - Drivers licenses and examinations in Spanish. The bill was sent to Senate Transportation Committee and had a hearing last Wednesday morning.  Going in, the Chairman had agreed to conduct the hearing as scheduled but to wait until Friday (this morning) for the committee vote to allow Senator Soholt to be present for that vote.  A count of committee members going into the Friday meeting showed that four Senators would vote in favor of SB 70 which would be enough to advance the bill to the full Senate for a vote. 

During the meeting, a total of five Senators voted in favor of SB 70.  Here are the members of the Senate Transportation Committee and their votes:

Chair:  Ernie Otten

Vice-Chair:  Rocky Blare


Rocky Blare (R)Yes

Jessica Castleberry (R)Yes

Red Dawn Foster (D)Yes

Jeff Monroe (R)Yes

Ernie Otten (R)No

Lance Russell (R): No 

Deb Soholt (R): Yes


SB 72 - establish the Dakota's promise scholarship program, to establish the Dakota's promise fund, and to make an appropriation therefor.

This bill creates a needs based scholarship designed to close the gap between government Pell Grants and the actual cost of tuition and fees for Colleges and Universities.  The program would be administered by the Board of Regents but available to students that “Attend a university or college accredited by the Higher Learning Commission that provides instruction from a campus located in South Dakota”.  This will include private colleges in South Dakota.

Here is the language from the bill that discusses who will qualify (the underlined text indicates this is language being added to the statue):

Section 3. That a NEW SECTION be added:

13-55-81. Eligibility for scholarship--Requirements.

In order to be eligible for a Dakota's promise scholarship, a student shall:

(1) Be a resident of South Dakota at the time of graduation from high school;

(2) Receive a Pell Grant from the United States Department of Education;

(3) Obtain a composite score of at least twenty-two on the ACT test or a comparable score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test as determined by the Board of Regents;

(4) Have a cumulative high school grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale;

(5) Attend a university or college accredited by the Higher Learning Commission that provides instruction from a campus located in South Dakota; and

(6) Enroll in twelve credit hours per semester, unless the student is in the student's final semester and requires fewer than twelve credit hours to complete the student's degree.


SB 72 calls for an appropriation of $2 million.


HB 1099 - authorize counties to impose a temporary voter-approved half-cent sales and use tax and to issue revenue bonds to fund certain county infrastructure construction.

A bill to allow counties to assess a half-penny sale/use tax to fund infrastructure construction to reduce incarceration and must be voter approved.  The Chamber joined a number of business and agriculture groups opposing the bill.  It passed out of committee on a vote of 8-Yea to 5-Nay.


Here is the committee vote:

HB 1099, House Taxation, Do Pass Amended – 2020

   Yeas 8   Nays 5   Excused 0   Absent 0







Johnson (Chris) 


Johnson (David) 














Smith (Jamie) 




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