Governor Noem 1, Industrial Hemp 0: Senate Falls Short Trying To Overcome Her Veto

Capitol News Bureau

Industrial hemp will remain illegal for at least another year in South Dakota, and maybe longer.

Governor Kristi Noem played her hand right Tuesday, when the state Senate couldn’t override her veto.

Noem is now 2-for-2 in her first session as governor on vetoes.

At stake was HB 1191 to legalize the growth, production and processing of industrial hemp.

More than 40 other states have put programs into place, although they are at most only experimental at this point.

The state House did its part on the override attempt Tuesday. Representatives voted 55-11, eight more than the 47 needed.

But the Senate came up four short of the 24 necessary in that body. The vote was 20-13. Overriding a veto takes a two-third majority in each chamber of South Dakota’s Legislature.

Noem told KELOLAND Capitol News Bureau Chief Bob Mercer on Tuesday morning she wanted to act fast after the House had agreed Monday afternoon to the Senate version.

She said lawmakers had little time left in the session to finish working on state government’s budget for the new spending year that starts July 1.

She didn’t want the budget bill hung up any longer than necessary.

As of Tuesday afternoon the proposed 2020 budget didn’t have any money in it for an industrial hemp program, according to Senator John Wiik, a Big Stone City Republican who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.

How quick was the governor Monday night? She received the bill at 5:05 p.m. Within 90 minutes, her veto message was on the way to news reporters.

Industrial hemp became legal nationwide when Congress passed the Farm Bill last year, but the federal legislation called for rules to first be put in place.

Noem voted for the 2018 Farm Bill as South Dakota’s one member in the U.S. House of Representatives.

After a recent trip to Washington, D.C., as governor, she said the U.S. Department of Agriculture won’t process a hemp plan from any state, tribe or territory, until after federal rules get put in place this November.

Her spokeswoman said Tuesday afternoon the 800-page Farm Bill was about many more programs.

“The Farm Bill set the stage for states to have discussions on industrial hemp. The governor has always believed that decisions are best made at the state level, and she supported the rights for states to debate the specifics of industrial hemp,” Kristin Wileman said.

“The Farm Bill is about protecting farmers and America’s food supply – not about legalizing industrial hemp,” Wileman continued.

She didn’t make any commitment about what the governor would do next legislative session.

“We’ll see what happens with industrial hemp in 2020,” Wileman said.

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