S.D. legislators get latest round of issue memos, but a majority makes one on surrogacy vanish

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The possibility that Ellsworth Air Force Base in western South Dakota could soon receive the latest bombers topped the six issue papers the Legislature’s Executive Board accepted Tuesday. But the board made a draft memo on surrogacy go away, after a long debate about it.

Other memos from the Legislative Research Council staff included:

History of the state sales tax exemption;

Current state-aid formulas for K-12 education and special education;

Governor’s emergency powers;

Residency laws; and

Legislative redistricting.

The board decided 11-2 to withdraw its previous directive for an issue memo on surrogacy and said the draft should be removed from the LRC website.

Representative Jon Hansen, a Republican from Dell Rapids, called for the surrogacy memo to be rejected, arguing it was flawed. The lawyer isn’t currently on the board. House members approved his attempt to prohibit commercial surrogacy contracts in the 2020 session, but his bill died in a Senate committee.

Surrogacy is an arrangement where a woman bears a child for another person.

Hansen disputed some of the memo’s points Tuesday and said parts weren’t neutral. LRC attorney Matthew Frame said the goal in writing it was to “go down the middle” and reflect that South Dakota doesn’t have state laws specifically on surrogacy.

Representative Spencer Gosch, a Glenham Republican, apologized to Frame and said the board shouldn’t have requested a memo on such a contentious issue. “I think we cut your Achilles tendons and told you to go run,” Gosch said.

The discussion took more than an hour. Senator Brock Greenfield, a Clark Republican and the board’s chairman this year, said that, during consideration of Hansen’s bill, he started on one side and wound up on the other. “It’s one of those issues that’s very dicey within the Legislature,” Greenfield told Frame.

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