Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Eagle Butte

Second week of the South Dakota Legislature: A report from Representative Oren Lesmeister

State Representative (District 28A) Oren Lesmeister

The second week of session started off with all committees meeting and things are really ramping up now. Bills are being filed and you are seeing more and more coming through the process.

We have had our briefings from GFP and DNR in house Ag Committee and in transportation, we had our briefing by Sec Bergquist.

On Tuesday, we had the first of what I feel will be many controversial bills. House Bill 1057, or what is being called the Transgender Bill, was heard in House State Affairs and brought a lot of people to Pierre on both sides of the issue. We even had health professionals and Chamber of Commerce speak to the committee on how this bill would affect not only their industry but South Dakota businesses in general.

This is after the Governor stated that South Dakota is open for business. The people from the chamber spoke to how it would affect their workforce and tourism in our state, while health care professionals stated that it would handcuff and put a huge burden on them, as they are trying to do their jobs.

There was a lot of misinformation about the drugs used and it was great to hear from the medical professionals who helped clear this up and provided information about what and why certain drugs are used.

Another issue is the HIPPA laws– this bill would, in effect, destroy HIPPA laws and make the doctors release information to the government and start collecting information about these people– government intrusion.

On Thursday, I was to travel back to Eagle Butte to attend the Tri-County/Mni Waste’ Board Meeting and the Annual Membership meeting, but due to the weather and road conditions, I was not able to make it home to attend.

With that being said, I was able to attend the memorial service on Thursday for the past legislatures who had passed away within the last year. This is a service that done to honor those whom have served in the legislative body at some point in the past and it is a great tribute to them.

Also, on Thursday evening, I was asked to participate in an interview to talk about industrial hemp live on PBS called South Dakota Focus. Other guest speakers included Doug Sombke from the South Dakota Farmers Union, Randy Stranton President of Secur Crop, and Reed VanderVeen from Hemp Processing Solutions in Harrisburg SD. This was a great group to have speak to this issue and they bring a HUGE amount of knowledge to the table.

We are working on the bills that are coming to the floor that have worked their way through the committee hearing process and are now up for debate on the floor. With the new system of drafting, filing and sponsoring bills, there are some legislators who are a little behind.

We do everything by electronic device now and some wish we still had a paper form to carry around and speak directly to people to explain their bill and answer any questions. I see it both ways.

I have had bills sent to me for sponsorship and really did not understand the intent of the bill and sometimes could not find the prime sponsor of the bill to ask some questions. You have to rely heavily on email now to accomplish most of this. But it has cut cost to our state in a huge way on the amount paper not being printed and thrown away, and reprinted to change some language in a bill or an amendment.

I encourage anyone who wants to track bills to do so on the South Dakota Legislative Research Council website at