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Rapid City-area lawmakers lag in filing bills for session, records show

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SD Capitol

In this Jan. 12, 2021, file photo, sun shines on state Capitol in Pierre, S.D.

Rapid City and Black Hills lawmakers appear to be largely taking a back seat on most bills filed for the 2022 legislative session, as 15 of the area's 21 representatives and senators either did not author or just resorted to co-sponsoring bills as of Monday.

The South Dakota Legislature officially begins its session on Tuesday. As of Monday afternoon, 75 Senate bills, 58 House bills and one House Joint Resolution have been filed, according to the Legislative Research Council.

Six area lawmakers — Reps. Chris Johnson, Jess Olson and Dean Wink and Sens. Gary Cammack, Timothy Johns and David Johnson — have not authored or co-sponsored any bills as of Monday.

Nine House members — Reps. Kirk Chaffee, Mike Derby, Becky Drury, Tim Goodwin, Taffy Howard, Phil Jensen, Tina Mulally, Scott Odenbach and Tony Randolph — did not author any bills but are co-sponsors for other bills.

Only six Rapid City-area legislators — Reps. Mary Fitzgerald and Trish Ladner and Sens. Jessica Castleberry, Michael Diedrich, Helene Duhamel and Julie Frye-Mueller — authored and co-sponsored bills as of Monday.

Cammack, Chaffee, Goodwin and Chris Johnson hold leadership roles in the Legislature.

Helene Duhamel.jpg

Helene Duhamel

Duhamel works for the Pennington County Sheriff's Office, served on the Marijuana Interim Study Committee and is the majority whip in the state Senate. She filed two bills that repeal and revise protections for the search, seizure, purchase and possession of medical cannabis. SB 16 would "repeal provisions related to the prosecution, search, seizure, penalty, or discipline of medical cannabis establishments." The law currently allows for certain restrictions in the ability of law enforcement and state agencies to search and seize cannabis products for dispensaries. Duhamel filed the bill at the request of the Marijuana Interim Study Committee.

She also filed SB 20 on behalf of the Marijuana Interim Study Committee. The bill would revise a law that allowed people to possess certain amounts of cannabis or cannabis products as long as they claimed they had medical purpose. The revision would strike that clause and require people to present a medical marijuana license/registry card issued by South Dakota or another state to avoid prosecution.

As a member of the Marijuana Interim Study Committee, Duhamel co-sponsored 20 other Senate bills dealing with the regulation of medical cannabis.

Jessica Castleberry

Jessica Castleberry

Castleberry is the primary Senate sponsor of two House bills. HB1052 would prohibit state agencies, political subdivisions, elected or appointed state officials, state employees and political subdivision employees from complying with any firearms and ammunition restrictions from the federal government that are not already law in South Dakota.

She also signed on as the Senate sponsor of HB1039, authored by Ladner in the House, that would allow for certain "noncropland" to be categorized as agricultural land. The wording of the legislation would open up more land used for grazing to be classified as agricultural for property tax assessment purposes.

Castleberry has co-sponsored three other House Bills — one authored by Fitzgerald that would remove suspended imposition of sentences for rape cases, another that would formally establish a joint committee on redistricting, and a bill that would increase the number of seniors who would qualify for freezing assessment values.

Frye-Mueller

Frye-Mueller

Frye-Mueller is the prime sponsor of SB66, which would legalize electric all-terrain and off-road vehicles to be used on public highways. Under current South Dakota law, only gas-powered ATVs and off-road vehicles are allowed on highways.

She has co-sponsored four bills in the House dealing with banning trangender females competing in female sports; banning transgender students from using multi-occupancy school facilities like restrooms, showers and locker rooms; Ladner's bill on "noncropland;" and HB1052 on firearms and ammunition.

Michael Diedrich

Michael Diedrich 

Diedrich, who is the assistant majority leader in the Senate, is the prime Senate sponsor of HB1001, which would increase the household income and value of a home for seniors who quality for the assessment freeze on property taxes. He is also a co-sponsor of two Senate bills. One would make hazing illegal in South Dakota and the other would revise wording on the South Dakota Housing Opportunity Fund.

Mary Fitzgerald

Mary Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald authored HB1026, which would prohibit the suspended imposition of sentence for offenders convicted of rape. She signed on as a co-sponsor to several pieces of legislation in the House and Senate and one House Joint Resolution. In the House, Fitzgerald signed on to the senior assessment freeze, the ban on transgender female athletes competing in female sports, establishing the joint committee for redistricting, a bill outlawing a person with a medical cannabis card from giving cannabis to another person, and a bill outlawing the synthetic production of THC — the intoxicating element in cannabis.

She is a co-sponsor of 23 cannabis-related Senate bills and one Senate bill to make hazing illegal. Fitzgerald signed on as a co-sponsor to a House Joint Resolution calling for a Constitutional Convention of States. Jensen and Odenbach also co-sponsored the convention resolution.

District 30 Rep. Trish Ladner.jpg

Ladner

Ladner is the prime House sponsor of HB 1039 with Castleberry in the Senate. The bill establishes certain "noncropland" as agricultural. She has signed on as co-sponsor for two House bills — the transgender female athlete ban and a bill that would outlaw the synthetic creation of THC.

Howard, who is challenging Dusty Johnson in the GOP House primary, is co-sponsoring the transgender female athlete ban, banning transgender students from school multi-occupancy facilities (showers, restroom, locker rooms), and the firearms restrictions ban.

Chaffee has signed on to co-sponsor three House bills on various topics and 25 cannabis-related Senate bills. Goodwin co-sponsored the House bill on firearm restrictions and 22 Senate bills on medical cannabis; and Derby has also co-sponsored 22 Senate cannabis bills.

Mulally is co-sponsoring five House bills on banning transgender female athletes, banning transgender students from multi-use school facilities, banning firearms restrictions, banning suspended impositions for rape cases, and Ladner's "noncropland" legislation. She also signed on to co-sponsor one Senate bill on medical cannabis.

Jensen signed on as a co-sponsor of the Convention of States resolution, the transgender female athlete ban, the firearms restrictions ban and HB1008 which would ban employer mandates for vaccines. In addition to the resolution on the Convention of States, Odenbach co-sponsored the House bill on banning transgender female athletes and the House bill on banning firearm restrictions.

Randolph co-sponsored the transgender female athlete ban, the bill to establish the redistricting committee and the ban on firearms restrictions. Drury signed on to the transgender female athlete ban and the outlawing of suspended impositions for rape cases.

Contact Nathan Thompson at nathan.thompson@rapidcityjournal.com.

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