South Dakota Legislature roundup for Monday, February 22, 2021

Capitol News Bureau

ALL WORK: Most of the 7:45 a.m. committees didn’t plan to meet Monday after a three-day weekend away from the state Capitol. But chairman Kent Peterson scheduled the House State Affairs Committee to gavel in at 6:30. The unusual early start resulted from eight bills on the panel’s agenda.

The Joint Committee on Appropriations wasn’t far behind with a 7 a.m. start for its 18 House and Senate members. That timing seemed to be to accommodate the House Appropriations Committee, which was scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. There were 24 — yes, two dozen — spending bills on the House side’s agenda.

REASON FOR THE RUSH: House members are racing to get through a small mountain of House bills this week before a procedural deadline.

Thursday is what’s known in the Capitol’s halls as “crossover day” when the chamber of origin — the first body, if you will — must clear its calendar of legislation that began in that chamber.

The Senate meanwhile is in relatively solid shape.

BIG DECISIONS ON MARIJUANA: On the House debate calendar Monday afternoon are two proposals that would go a long way toward shaping how South Dakota handles the two measures legalizing marijuana that voters approved in November.

HB 1203 would allow state-chartered banks in South Dakota to “directly or through subsidiaries, carry on the business of banking…with any person licensed in this state to engage in the business of
industrial hemp or marijuana, or with any person engaging in legal business dealings with such licensee.”

Banking has been a challenge for other states that have legalized marijuana, which the federal government continues to classify as an illegal drug. The prime sponsor is Representative Hugh Bartels, a retired community banker.

HB 1100 meanwhile would delay medical marijuana’s start-up until 2022 and create a 22-member study panel to work on issues that IM 26 didn’t cover.

The House State Affairs Committee came up with the nine-page amendment and inserted it into a previously one-sentence bill with the word “marijuana” in the title. House Speaker Spencer Gosch had introduced it to serve as an empty vehicle for marijuana-related legislation.

The one-year delay has the backing of Governor Kristi Noem, who campaigned against both IM 26 and the broader adult-use constitutional amendment that she’s fighting to overturn in state court.

Being on the debate calendar doesn’t necessarily mean either bill will be debated today. House members could defer one or both until another day. Next stop would be the Senate if the House does approve one or both.

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