S.D. lawmakers have proposed 146 bills so far; Here’s some to track in the Senate

KELOLAND.com Original

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Online voter registration, laser pointer crimes and recognizing Juneteenth. 

These are just a few of the 146 (as of noon on Jan. 19th) proposed bills to be discussed during South Dakota Legislature’s 2021 session. Week two of the session started Tuesday at the Capitol in Pierre.

Here’s an early outlook on some proposed legislation KELOLAND News has been tracking in the Senate, where there are 79 proposed bills as of Tuesday at noon. Look for more coverage from the 65 House bills in a KELOLAND.com Original. 

In the Senate, a handful of bills deal with revisions for bridge and highway contracts, correct technical errors for state agencies and authorize more state agencies to declare an emergency. 

Below is a breakdown of seven proposed bills from the South Dakota Legislative Research Council and past reporting from KELOLAND News. 

South Dakota is one of nine states without online voter registration and previous proposals for online voter registration have failed. A proposal last year passed the House but failed in a Senate hearing.

A Senate committee — State Affairs — will take up the proposed bill, which will “provide for voter registration through an online voter registration system provided by the Office of the Secretary of State.” KELOLAND News has reached out to the SOS office to take a closer look at the proposed bill. 


 The bill calls for $100 million to go to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, which will “seek to leverage private investment, federal grants or extensions of existing infrastructure; serve any location that does not currently offer broadband speeds at or above 100 mbps download; or are most cost effective and technically efficient in that the projects propose to serve the highest number of homes, businesses, and community anchor points.” 

The bill was sent to the Senate Commerce and Energy committee. 


In November, voters in South Dakota approved Constitutional Amendment B, 239,620 to 170,191, allowing sports betting in South Dakota. SB 44 will “authorize, regulate, and tax wagering on sporting events within the city limits of Deadwood.” It is sponsored by the committee on commerce and energy at the request of the Department of Revenue. Tribal casinos in South Dakota also could offer sports wagering.


During the 2020 Governor’s Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park, Gov. Noem announced plans for a bison visitors center managed by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust gave $4 million in a grant to build the center.  


 June 19th, 1865, is the day the last group of enslaved African Americans were told they were free in Texas, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Sen. Jim Bolin (R-Canton) is sponsoring the bill which will be in the Senate State Affairs Committee.  South Dakota laws include at least 11 other working holidays denoting people and events.


This bill would add one more requirement for petitions for initiated measures filed with the Secretary of State’s Office — requiring at least “12-point font size.” In 2019, the Legislature decided this year that people who circulate petitions had to first register with the Secretary of State office. And they had to do it for every measure they planned to seek signatures. They also had to offer a written summary to every person they asked to sign.


If you shine a laser pointer at a law enforcement officer without consent, you will be committing a crime. SB 79, sponsored by Sen. Helene Duhamel (R-Rapid City) and a dozen other lawmakers, was published on the SDLRC website on Tuesday morning and hasn’t been assigned to a committee at this time.

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