February 14, 2022

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South Dakota Chamber Of Commerce - Capitol-ism E-Newsletter
February 14, 2022

All the Horses are Loaded in the Paddock – Final Bill Count = 551

As happens in each race – several are facing the wrong direction.

The deadline for bill drafting and submitting occurred several days ago and the final Bill Count is: 212 Senate Bills; 339 House Bills; Total Bills = 551

 As is shown below this is a record number of bills in the most recent decade.


Conclusion: Workers Like to Live Inside

SB 53
make an appropriation to increase workforce housing and to declare an emergency.  Sponsor: The Committee on Appropriations at the request of the Governor's Office of Economic Development.  Link: https:/sdlegislature.gov/Session/Bill/23065

As Capitol-ism noted earlier, workforce housing is an urgent topic among business leaders and thousands of workers looking for houses or apartments to buy or rent.  Governor Noem, in last December’s budget address, announced she would be putting $200 million dollars toward workforce housing.  She proposed the funds would flow through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) local infrastructure improvement program.

SB 53 was heard last Tuesday (2/08) before the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee that was more of lovefest than a hearing.  It was amended to put $100 million into GOED for grants and another $100 million into the South Dakota Housing Authority for use as revolving loans.  These are set to be used for infrastructure and carry the matching funds requirements found in the original concept.  There is more to be done before these plans are finalized.

Issues needing additional work including having some of the funds available for more than infrastructure.  To be clear, infrastructure is essential to any project because it deals with the stuff that gets taken for granted, such as water and sewer pipes, electricity and gas lines, streets and parking areas - the things that only get noticed when they fail in some regard and draw attention with emergency vehicles and red flashing lights and people running around in a rushed manner.

SB 53 must be sent to the Appropriations Committee which happened at the close of the hearing on a vote of 9-Yea to 0-Nay.


SJR 502 - Proposing and submitting to the voters at the next general election an amendment to the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, providing for wagering on sporting events via mobile or electronic platform. Senator Schoenfish (R-Scotland) Link: https:/sdlegislature.gov/Session/Bill/22961

During the 2020 general election, the voters approved a constitutional amendment to allow betting on sports teams and games in South Dakota.  The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry supported that amendment and looked forward to betting on sports in a local bar or restaurant.  That is, until last year’s legislative session.

That was when everyone received a lesson on how gambling works in South Dakota.  It is controlled by the state’s constitution.  And while the amendment that was approved by the voters DID make sports betting legal, it DIDN’T change other conditions about how gambling in general is run in South Dakota. 

Gambling is to be done “within the city limits of Deadwood” and “within a licensed casino”.  Advocates of sports betting came up with any number of creative ideas, none of which worked according to the Governor’s office and other official offices.  It came down to living with what was going to be allowed or letting Deadwood annex the entire state, which came with another set of countless opponents.  So, sports betting is done in Deadwood in a casino.  

SJR 502 would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot allowing sports betting from smart phones or computers.  These phones and computers would have to be connected to a server in Deadwood, although as written, the server would not be required to be in a physical casino.

SJR 502 passed out of Senate Commerce and Energy Committee on a vote of 5-Yea to 4-Nay.

Update: SJR 502 passed the full Senate on a vote of 18-Yea to 17-Nay

There was another bill, HB 1148 – an industry sponsored alternative to allow sports betting in bars and restaurants with full liquor licenses.  It was defeated in House State Affairs Committee on a vote of 9-Yea to 4-Nay (motion to refer to 41st legislative day).


Business Can Mandate Covid Vaccines – Sort Of

Governor’s Bill Requires Certain Exemptions

SB 211 - provide statutory COVID-19 vaccine exemptions and to declare an emergency.  Sponsor: request of the Office of the Governor.  Link - https:/mylrc.sdlegislature.gov/api/Documents/232869.pdf

There are six bills that deal with Covid-19 mandates or actions.  SB 211 is the Governor’s bill which her office claims is less harsh on businesses with immunization requirements than are other bills.

SB 211 requires any business that has a Covid-19 immunization mandate to honor several exceptions to that mandate.  Those exceptions include medical conditions, religious/moral objections on an employer supplied form (not including mere preference or political reasons) and natural immunity from having had Covid-19.

There was no organized business opposition to SB 211 which was approved by the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee last Tuesday (2/08) on a vote of 8-Yea to 1-Nay


Guns and Banks Have Never Been a Good Combination

Item 7: SB 182 - An Act to prohibit discriminatory actions against persons engaged with the firearm industry.  Link: https:/sdlegislature.gov/Session/Bill/23259/231790  Sponsor: Senator David Johnson (R-Rapid City)

Here we go again.  The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry has never understood why the second amendment and guns rights groups want to create a completely unwarranted conflict between gun ownership and property rights (admittedly, a bit editorial).  The old issue of “Guns-n-Trunks” was bad enough, now they want all government units to use private corporate policies as a litmus test for doing business with banks.   

A state that has a proven record of being good for business and is considered very investment worthy should not put conditions on business relationships between the governmental agencies and officials and any business, certainly conditions that are unrelated to the business being done. 

The Hearing for SB 182 has been set for Tuesday (2/15) at the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee.  Here is the text:

Section 1. That a NEW SECTION be added to title 37:

Except as provided in this section, no state agency or any elected or appointed official or employee of this state may, under any governmental authority, enter into a contract with a bank, as defined in chapter 51A-1, or with a person engaged in money transmission, as defined in chapter 51A-17, for a financial service, unless the contract specifies that the party with whom the state is contracting has no categorical policy, rule, or guidance or other directive requiring that it refuse to provide financial services of any kind, refrain from continuing to provide existing financial services of any kind, terminate existing financial services of any kind with, or otherwise categorically discriminate against:

(1) A person, engaged in the lawful commerce of firearms or ammunition products, as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 921, as of January 1, 2022, because the person is a manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, supplier, or retailer of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition;

(2) A person engaged in the operation of a shooting range; or

(3) A firearm trade association that is exempt from federal income taxation under 26 U.S.C. § 501(a), as an organization described in 26 U.S.C. § 501(c).

Section 2. That a NEW SECTION be added to title 37:

If the attorney general has reason to believe that a bank or a person engaged in money transmission in this state has violated section 1 of this Act, the attorney general must investigate, and upon finding of a probable violation, must:

(1) Seek a declaratory judgement that the bank or person engaged in money transmission is in violation of section 1 of this Act; and

(2) Seek to nullify the terms of any contract entered into in violation of section 1 of this Act.

Section 3. That a NEW SECTION be added to title 37:

Upon a judicial determination that a bank or a person engaged in money transmission has violated section 1 of this Act, the bank or person engaged in money transmission is prohibited from contracting with this state until the attorney general verifies that the bank or person is no longer in violation of section 1 of this Act.

The Governor may waive the verification required by this section if notified by the Bureau of Finance and Management that the contracting prohibition may prevent an action determined by the Governor to be necessary for the sound fiscal management of this state.


SB 182 is a dangerous intrusion of the state government (and all of the subdivisions) into corporate policies and is an over reach of limiting speech by businesses.  It is an hostile affront to the financial sector which is a leading element of the South Dakota economy.

The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry opposes SB 182.


From the “What-Not” Shelf

HB 1267 - allow certain medical professionals to dispense Ivermectin to persons with or without a prescription.  Sponsor: Rep. Phil Jensen (R-Rapid City).  Link: https:/sdlegislature.gov/Session/Bill/23406/230949

Alice in Wonderland famously observed that things were getting “curiouser and curiouser”.  This bill was seen as fitting this category . . . and then it passed out of House Health and Human Services Committee on a vote of 7-Yea to 6-Nay.  The bill speaks for itself:

Section 1. That chapter 34-20B be amended with a NEW SECTION:

A practitioner may, in accordance with accepted medical standards, dispense ivermectin to a person with or without a prior prescription.

A practitioner is prohibited from seeking personal financial benefit by participating in an incentive-based program that encourages therapeutic or product changes or the ordering of tests or services related to ivermectin.

A practitioner, upon dispensing ivermectin to a person, shall provide the person with an information sheet that must include the importance of follow-up care and health care referral information.


Business Day at the Legislature 

Online option for afternoon session

Join Us Thursday, February 24th

Register today for Business Day at the Legislature and take advantage of your opportunity to be part of the legislative process by voting during Business Caucus in conjunction with an up to the minute briefing on issues being debated at the Capitol. Results of the Caucus voting will be delivered to members of the South Dakota Legislature.

You will also hear from US Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer and Head of Strategic Advocacy Neil Bradley. Bradley has led the national discussion on hundreds of high-profile policy issues, influencing legislation at the federal, state, and local levels. He regularly appears on broadcast and cable news networks to present the business community’s priorities.

This portion of Business Day is available as an in-person event or for online participation. Details and registration at https:/bit.ly/3oD5pOR. Registration for online only is $25. Full event registration is $75.


Business Day Agenda

 - All times noted are Central Standard

 - The event registration desk will open at 12:30 PM

1:30 PM at the Ramkota Hotel in Pierre

  • Legislative Briefing and Business Caucus
  • Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer and Head of Strategic Advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, presenting from Washington, DC

4:00 - 5:00 PM

  • Time to Visit the Capitol

5:00 - 7:00 PM at the Ramkota Hotel in Pierre

  • Legislative Reception
  • With 6:00 PM Program featuring Chamber Award presentations
    • Distinguished Legislative Service
    • Lifetime Achievement
    • Outstanding Public Service

Business Day is brought to you by the following generous sponsors:

  • Amazon
  • First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard
  • Microsoft
  • Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield of South Dakota
  • Black Hills Energy
  • CenturyLink
  • MDU Resources Group
  • Midco
  • NorthWestern Energy
  • Sioux Valley Energy
  • Steve & Suzie Kirby, Bluestem Capital


Thank you for your support of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry.



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