South Dakota Legislature roundup for Thursday, January 21, 2021

Capitol News Bureau

Note to readers: This daily report will appear each working day of the South Dakota Legislature’s 2021 session that runs through March 29.

KA-CHING: Senator Al Novstrup wants lawmakers to appropriate $2.5 million to support veterans memorial centers in South Dakota communities.

The Brown County Republican’s proposal would provide grants for the design and construction. Another Brown County Republican, Representative Drew Dennert, is lead House sponsor.

Their bill would put the grant authority with the state Department of Veterans Affairs and includes an emergency clause, meaning it would take effect immediately upon receiving the governor’s signature rather than the standard July 1.

WHAT’S YOUR NAME: Representative Rebecca Reimer wants state law to be more specific about documents that can be accepted for a name change on a marriage license.

The Chamberlain Republican has introduced legislation that would repeal the option of “any photographic identification which includes the applicant’s name and date of birth”

She would replace it with a list that includes either a passport; federal, state, military, or tribal photo identification; a birth certificate, along with a current school or employment photo ID; or a completed U.S. Department of the Treasury Form 4029.

Reimer also wants the law to limit the choices for what a person’s married name can be — either the spouse’s surname or the person’s surname, and no changes to a first or middle name.

Senator Jessica Castleberry, a Rapid City Republican, is lead sponsor in the Senate.

NUMBERS PROBLEM: Republicans took pride when more of them won seats in the November legislative elections than two years ago. But the price is that fewer Democrats are available to serve on legislative committees.

Two Republicans, Senator Lee Schoenbeck of Watertown and Representative Chris Johnson, have introduced legislation that would change the minimum set in state law for the joint Retirement Laws Committee.

State law says the House speaker and the Senate president pro tem shall each appoint five members of their chambers, with no more than three from the same party. Trouble is, there are only eight Democrats in the 70-member House and three Democrats in the 35-member Senate.

The Schoenbeck-Johnson bill would delete the “no more than three” phrase and add two sentences: “The appointing authority shall appoint members to the committee proportional to a party’s representation in the authority’s legislative body. The minority party in each legislative body shall have at least one member.”

Schoenbeck is Senate president pro tem. Republican Spencer Gosch of Glenham is House speaker.

BACK TO NORMAL: The leadership teams for Democrat and Republican legislators will hold weekly news conferences on Thursday mornings starting today at 9:30 and 10 CT in the governor’s large conference room.

Governor Kristi Noem will follow at 10:30 a.m. CT. Noem broke from modern Capitol tradition dating back to at least the 1980s when she decided against meeting with South Dakota news reporters for her December 8 budget speech to legislators.

She also didn’t meet with South Dakota news reporters for her January 12 State of the State speech to lawmakers. She instead did a live interview that morning from the governor’s mansion for the national audience watching Fox News.

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