Legislative Update #8 (week 7) Day 28
Legislative Day 28. I am writing this between pauses in bill action while still in session late Thursday night as I experience my first “crossover day.” Crossover day is the day dictated by legislative rules when all bills must be passed out of the house of origin (i.e. House of Representative or the Senate). It has been a long day, and I don’t see it ending any time real soon. Though I am tired, that is okay because I respect the process and everyone’s opportunity to speak on legislation that is important to someone. I am seeing a few yawns, however.
This has been a tough and, sometimes, an emotional week. Never before has an impeachment been brought forward. Never before have we taken action to legalize marijuana use in some form. And never before have we been tasked to dedicate such a large amount of one-time revenues to projects, savings funds, and debt reduction. Even before I became a legislator, I was always proud that our State balanced its budget on conservative principles yet stretched our revenues to make progressive investments. Although the final appropriations have yet to be settled, I am confident the legislative and executive branch will make solid decisions.
Regarding the medical marijuana issue, earlier in the day the house passed HB 1100H which will authorize the executive branch to call a summer study of all the stakeholders with the likelihood of calling a special session to execute the findings. The effective start date for the program is January 1, 2022. That is longer than the original IM-26 initiated measure had in its wording, but a shorter time than original legislation had stated. There was a few of us that voted for HB 1100G, too. This would have had the same effective date but included a clause to ensure that specific legal protections were provided to medical marijuana patients before registry identification cards were issued. I was disappointed that it didn’t pass, but HB 1100H is headed to the Senate for their consideration and possible amendments. As I have written in the past, lots of steps for legislation to get favored to the Governor for her signature.
When impeachment legislation was filed, it was somber day. Regardless of how you feel about the unfortunate events of last September, I am confident we all agree that it was a tragedy and many people are hurting. Please join me in praying for all of the parties and for South Dakota.