The Legislature meets Wednesday in special session starting at 9 a.m. on proposed laws that would allow the state government to begin collecting sales-and-use taxes on transactions between remote sellers and South Dakota customers.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard plans to speak to a joint assembly of lawmakers at about 9:30 a.m. in the House of Representatives chamber. Then, the 70 representatives and 35 senators will stay in the House and meet as a committee of the whole.
Legislative Research Council Executive Director Jason Hancock said Monday he didn’t have a schedule of witnesses, but expected the state Department of Revenue to have people to testify.
Hancock said other people could speak, too.
“Procedurally, it will be handled very much like an ordinary bill hearing in committee. There will be a call for proponent testimony and opponent testimony. We will have a sign-up sheet. Committee questions will be permitted,” Hancock said.
House Speaker Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls, will be chairman. The hearing is on the House floor. Testifiers speak from the lower rostrum where the House chief clerk normally is.
“The purpose is to give each side an opportunity to make their case, and for legislators to be able to ask questions. Any action on any bills will be taken later, on the floor of the separate chambers,” Hancock said.
He couldn’t provide an estimate how long the joint committee of the whole would take.
The three bills, two on remote sellers collecting and remitting tax, and the third on when state officials take office, follow standard procedure, with action in one chamber and then the second.
The House and Senate chambers aren’t air-conditioned. Hancock said there’s only the 19th-century strategy of opening windows overnight and closing them during the heat of the day, “which we will be doing between now and Wednesday.”
The state Bureau of Administration buildings-and-grounds division plans to bring all available fans, according to Hancock. He didn’t know how many. The Wednesday forecast temperature is 90-plus degrees.
Unclear is whether lawmakers will finish Wednesday. There isn’t a Thursday plan.
“Since we do not expect the special session to run more than one day, if it turned out that the Legislature needed additional time, the two motions could be combined into a single motion at the end of the day on Wednesday, adjourning for the day to a time certain the following day,” Hancock said.
Lawmakers passed the remote-seller act in 2016 with nearly unanimous support of 33-0 in the Senate and 64-2 in the House. Sen. Deb Peters, R-Hartford, was the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 106, and Rep. Roger Hunt, R-Brandon, was the lead House sponsor.
Co-sponsors were 13 top Democratic and Republican lawmakers. Daugaard’s administration backed it.
State Attorney General Marty Jackley argued the case to the U.S. Supreme Court on April 17. The high court ruled in favor of states June 21.