Legislative Update – Week #3
This week on the House floor, the first of many expected marijuana bills were introduced. As imagined, there is much interest in the proposed legislation and my emails have reflected that.
As always, I read all of the emails sent to me, especially the ones sent from citizens of District 24. House Bill (HB) 1004 would remove the right of the cardholder to grow cannabis at home for personal consumption, as per allowed by the South Dakota Medical Marijuana program. I voted against the measure, but it did pass the House and will be favored to the Senate for their consideration. HB 1057 dealt with unauthorized transfer of medical cannabis products and HB 1058 revised the available forms of cannabis products that could be offered in South Dakota.
Rather than getting into details, it is safe to say that neither of the bills were products of the legislative summer study committee on marijuana. I voted not to accept either of these and was in the majority on both votes. There will be many other bills pertaining to marijuana this session, I will be looking to the expertise of my friends on the summer study committee. I look forward to hearing about their conclusions from the conducted study. It is also comforting to hear from committee members that the Department of Health is doing thorough and thoughtful job of writing rules to deliver a safe and responsible program. There is much more to come on this issue.
Last week I mentioned HB 1093, which called for an increase in the motor registration fee of pure electric vehicles and I thought I would provide an update on that measure. After a thoughtful debate on the merits regarding the bill, and the realities of what an owner is paying in taxes now (excise tax at the time of purchase and the current registration fee), the bill did not gain favor and was defeated. The percentage increased in these fees was likely the cause for not gaining support on this bill, however, I expect the discussion to continue and more legislation to be brought forward pertaining to how owners of electric vehicles will contribute to highway funding.
Next week, we will be looking at further discussion and a House vote on Governor Noem’s legislation, Senate Bill 46, “Protect Fairness in Women’s Sports.” For those who have followed this legislation and topic this past year, we know it surfaces a lot of emotions and conversations from people on both sides of the issue.
This issue is not as clear as both sides would like you to believe, however, the bill is more readable and easier to understand than last year’s measure and I expect there will be much support for it. Personally, I think the existing policies placed by the local school boards and the South Dakota High School Activities Association have been effective and done a good job of keeping women’s sports fair. However, collegiately, the NCAA has not done a good job of it as is obvious with the swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania. Nonetheless, the bill was introduced on the House floor on Thursday, but a late amendment was brought to the bill, allowing students and parents to sue for damages, which is currently prohibited in the bill. Action on this bill will now take place next week as legislators will have an extra day to study the effects of amendment and vote accordingly.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the legislature and please let me know if have any questions or comments. mw