HB 1140 passes Senate after rollercoaster journey

KELOLAND.com Original

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — On March 2, 2021, HB 1140, which would “restrict the entry of conservation officers onto certain private lands without permission,” was killed in the Senate Judiciary committee.

On Monday, the bill cleared the Senate and will now head to the Governor’s desk to be signed.

This path is not typical for a bill in the legislature. Due to legislative rule 7-7, A.K.A. the ‘smoke out’ rule, a committee can be forced to reconsider and deliver to the chamber floor a bill that they had rejected as long as 1/3 of the members support the action.

This is what happened as the bill, which was originally voted down 7-0 in the committee, garnered the support of 17 senators to make a comeback.

This move sparked frustration from the Chair of the Senate Judiciary committee, who questioned the purpose of having committees if the Senate could so easily disregard their decisions.

Discussion of the bill on Monday was short, as the chamber voted to accept an amendment to the bill, which sought to address some concerns. The bill was charged by it’s opponents as being a ‘poacher’s bill’ and for seeking to diminish the authority of conservation officers. The amendment that was passed added language that specified that an officer with a warrant does not require permission to enter land, and struck certain lines from the bill which would invalidate any arrest or evidence gathered by an officer who was on private land without permission or justification.

After the amendment was approved, proponents of the bill spoke briefly, encouraging members to vote yes. Voting was done via roll-call, and the bill passed with 21 senators voting in favor, and 14 voting against it.

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