PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — No one testified as an opponent Monday at a hearing on a proposed state law to create an official government board for South Dakota real-estate appraisers.
The House Commerce and Energy Committee however held the legislation until Wednesday for technical amendments.
“Words matter. This, you’re asking us to make the law,” Representative Mark Willadsen, R-Sioux Falls, said. “This needs to be fixed.”
The Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee voted 10-0 last year to call for the bill.
The prime sponsor of HB 1061 is one of GOAC’s members, Representative Linda Duba, D-Sioux Falls. She gave her assurance Monday the bill will be brought into form.
“I am committed to this committee. Representative Willadsen, to make those changes,” Duba said.
The state Department of Labor and Regulation for the past 32 years used an advisory council of appraisers and people from the lending and real estate sectors for feedback on the appraiser certification program.
But the group didn’t meet for 10 months last year, as long-time director Sherry Bren was forced out. The person hired as Bren’s replacement recently resigned, too.
In between, a $200,000 settlement that Governor Kristi Noem’s administration paid Bren came to light, after an Associated Press reporter learned of the previously secret settlement.
The settlement came in the wake of one of the governor’s daughters attempting to advance her appraiser certification. The daughter, Kassidy Peters, eventually received the higher designation.
As GOAC members pressed deeper into the situation, Peters announced in a letter she would be shutting down her appraisal business.
Almost none of that came up Monday, The department didn’t take a public position on the Duba-sponsored legislation, while appraisers turned out to support it.
Craig Steinley, an appraiser from Rapid City, said the advisory council is helping the department create an appraiser-training program that has federal funding and starts this fall at South Dakota State University.
Representative Lynn Schneider, R-Huron, is a retired banker. He said the new program held promise for addressing the need for more appraisers in South Dakota, especially in rural areas.
“I do see this sense of urgency, so I’m glad to hear the focus you have there,” Schneider told Steinley.
Representative Hugh Bartels, R-Watertown, said one of the problems contributing to the shortage was that established appraisers have often been reluctant to train new ones.
“I think this is probably a good idea,” Bartels said.