January 24, 2022 - Capitol-ism

Special Events


South Dakota Chamber Of Commerce - Capitol-ism E-Newsletter

January 24, 2022


Legislature Gains Momentum

The Roller Coaster Starts Climbing

The early days of any legislative session is like being in a roller coaster after being strapped in and sitting there waiting for things to get moving.  Sitting there feeling anxious and telling yourself this is anticipation, not unbridled fear.  Knowing you’re not really nervous about falling out of the roller coaster but you are really nervous about throwing up. 

Below is a summary of several bills that were part of the second week of the 97th Legislative Session and a list of bills that are also waiting for the roller coaster to start.

Workers Compensation: When should notice be given?

SB 70 - modify the amount of time to report an injury for workers' compensation. Introduced by Senator Nesiba (D-Sioux Falls). Link: https:/sdlegislature.gov/Session/Bill/22565

Under current law employees are supposed to tell an employer that they have been injured within three days so that a work comp claim can be filed.  The actual filing of the claim can be made later but the notification is supposed to be done within three days.

Senator Nesiba wanted to expand the number of days employees have to report a work-related injury from three business days to thirty calendar days.  He pointed out that today’s injuries have a more subtle impact on workers than the traditional industrial injury.  With an injury that damages someone’s body, inflicting a cut or smashed hand, the notice is clearly apparent immediately as people rush to stop the bleeding and clean off the floor.

Today’s injuries often are repetitive motion injuries where the body slowly wears out.  It can take months for the injury to become debilitating and then need to be turned in as a work comp claim.

Opponents to the bill, including the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, pointed out several exceptions to the three day notice including the very type of injury mentioned above.  The three day limit was instituted in early 90s and was passed in large part so employers would know about bad equipment or spills on a floor and get them fixed to protect other employees.

Senator Nesiba was asked to take the discussion to the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board for a review and perhaps bring the bill another time. 

SB 70 was deferred to the 41st Legislative Day (which does not exist).

Property Tax Policy: Interesting Debates -- Are Found Elsewhere

HB 1039 - provide for the assessment of certain agricultural land as noncropland – Rep. Ladner (R-Hot Springs). Link: https:/sdlegislature.gov/Session/Bill/22603 

Hearing was last Thursday in front of House Ag and Natural Resources Committee.

This is another attempt at allowing ranchers who own fields that the statewide soil survey insists have a “highest and best” as cropland (think corn, hay, bananas) but in reality, are difficult if not impossible to actually get a tractor into and plant.  What’s at stake is that fact that there is a significant difference between lands that are classified as “crop vs. non-crop”.  

And changing classification from “crop land to non-crop land” may shift taxes from those ranches to other properties in the county and throughout the state.

According to HB 1039, there are several conditions must be met before land can be classified as “non-crop” including being at an elevation higher than 1,950 feet, having been grassland for 20 years or having never plowed nor planted.

The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry opposed the bill out of concerns about the potential tax shift and the fact that there is a better solution that is supposed to be readily available.  That solution is the fact that local County Assessors have the authority, at least on paper, to make those decisions.  Of course “on paper” teams with home field advantage are supposed to win most payoff games.  This theory isn’t working any better in the realm of tax policy either. 

The Chamber isn’t sure where things seem to be breaking down in this situation between reluctant local assessors or disagreements between the local assessors and the Department of Revenue staff back in Pierre.  These frustrations resulted in HB 1039 being approved by House Ag and Natural Resources Committee on a vote of 10-Yea to 3-Nay.

HB 1039 is scheduled to be debated by the full House of Representatives on Monday, January 24, 2021. 


Electric Cars Use Different Electricity from Homes?

SB 80 - An Act to exempt the provision of electricity through electric vehicle charging stations from the definition of electric utility.  Senator Crabtree (R-Madison). Link: https:/sdlegislature.gov/Session/Bill/23045/227075

This bill is rather simple and straight forward (which is rare in the legislative process) and solves a very complex problem.  As electric vehicles become more common there will be a need to have charging stations as readily available as gas stations, rest stops, shopping malls and medical marijuana procurement shops.  Building charging stations isn’t the biggest part of the challenge, the real problem is electric power isn’t gasoline (and they shouldn’t be combined under any circumstances). 

Electricity is sold by power companies most of which are regulated in some manner.  The current law (OK - intentional pun) says only power companies, whether they are investor-owned or cooperatives, can sell electricity.  Investor-owned power companies, which service the major cities in South Dakota, are regulated by the Public Utility Commission (PUC). This made sense when electricity was needed in homes, businesses and streetlights and the occasional cotton candy stand at a football game.

Putting electricity into a car?  That needs a different approach.  Here is the language of SB 80:

Section 1. That chapter 49-34A be amended with a NEW SECTION:

A person that owns or operates an electric vehicle charging station to resell or provide electricity to the public is not an electric utility if the person has purchased the electricity from an electric utility that is engaging in the retail sale of electricity within the utility's assigned service area.

Having a PUC hearing for every automobile charging station could set back all electric vehicles by a hundred years.  SB 80 offers a masterfully elegant answer to an otherwise tangled mess.  Charging stations are simply not electric companies and, therefore, aren’t needed to be regulated by the Public Utilities Commission.  “Filler up please, with premium 220 volt”.


Chamber Monitors Governor’s Transgender Bill

SB 46 - Introduced by: The Committee on State Affairs at the request of the Office of the Governor – Link: https:/sdlegislature.gov/Session/Bill/22957/228172

The Governor has advanced SB 46 with language aimed at keeping transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports by limiting participation in women’s sports to those folks who can show they were identified as female on their birth certificate. 

The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and other business organizations, have opposed similar bills in the past, most notably HB 1297 just last year.  The Chamber is monitoring SB 46 and did not appear during the hearing before Senate State Affairs.

Here’s Why.  The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry has always based opposition to bills that discriminate against definable classes of citizens out of concerns about the economic consequences experienced by other states in the form of cancelled conventions, concerts, and not being eligible to host major sports tournaments.  Another reason for opposing previous bills is the insistence of an increasing number of members that are advocates for inclusiveness in the workplace which is driven by the need for employees and having the welcome mat out for all people. 

The focus on economic sanctions has seen the examples of such consequences decreasing in recent years as more and more states pass similar laws.  Organizations that have discussed imposing these sanctions are being selective with those sanctions which has diminished their severity and frequency. 

The recent example of a transgender woman swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania has given added momentum to the Governor and her supporters for this version of SB 46.

The concern regarding South Dakota being a state that welcomes all humans is still an issue for many Chamber members and this can still be advanced in spite of SB 46 which is a very broad action aimed at impacting women’s sports. 

SB 46 was approved by Senate State Affairs Committee on January 14th by a vote of 8-Yeas to 1-Nay.  And passed the full Senate on January 19th with a vote of 26-Yea to 7-Nay.  It will next be sent to the House of Representatives.


Here is the list of bills the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry is following so far:           

Bills are available at www.sdlegislature.gov. Click on Session and then 2022 Bills.



SB 25

provide for the taxation of marijuana.

SB 30

add Juneteenth as a state holiday.

SB 46

protect fairness in women's sports.

SB 53

make an appropriation to increase workforce housing and to declare an emergency.

SB 59

revise property tax levies for school districts and to revise the state aid to general and special education formulas.

SB 65

delineate uses for the South Dakota housing opportunity fund.

SB 70

modify the amount of time to report an injury for workers' compensation.

SB 80

exempt the provision of electricity through electric vehicle charging stations from the definition of electric utility.

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.

HB 1005

provide for the designated use of public school multi-occupancy rooms and sleeping rooms.

HB 1006

promote continued fairness in women's sports.

HB 1008

provide a cause of action for certain employees that are required to receive a vaccination as a condition of employment and to declare an emergency.

HB 1039

provide for the assessment of certain agricultural land as noncropland.

HB 1051

amend certain provisions relating to the small business credit initiative fund.

HB 1053

authorize counties to issue bonds for certain expenditures funded by a gross receipts tax.

HB 1064

direct the Department of Education to use certain fall enrollments when calculating state aid for school districts that declined in enrollment between 2020 and 2021.

HB 1073

provide for diploma privilege for admittance to the practice of law.


Business Day at the Legislature

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Registration fee $75 per person, with an online option for the afternoon session.

Schedule of Events
1:30 - Legislative Briefing and Business Caucus
3:00 - Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer and Head of Strategic Advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, presenting from Washington, DC
5:00 - Business Day Reception
6:00 - Program featuring Chamber Award presentations

Announcing our first two honorees:
The Outstanding Public Servant Award will be presented posthumously to James Soyer      

The Distinguished Legislative Service Award will be presented to former legislator and House Majority Leader David Knudson

7:00 - Adjourn

Register at https:/bit.ly/3oD5pOR

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

 We recognize the following Legislative Reception co-sponsor organizations:

  • Brookings Economic Development Corporation
  • Mitchell Area Development Corporation
  • Pierre Economic Development Corporation
  • Sioux Falls Development Foundation
  • Watertown Development Company

A number of local chambers of commerce host their district legislators to the event. We thank the following:

  • Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Dakota Valley Business Council
  • Deadwood Chamber of Commerce
  • Huron Chamber & Visitors Bureau
  • Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Pierre Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce

 Business Day event details and registration at www.sdchamber.biz



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

This message has been sent to: FirstName  LastName

222 East Capitol | Suite 15 | PO Box 190 | Pierre, SD 57501
Contact | 605-224-6161
South Dakota Website Design and Development