Senator Troy Heinert reporting from Pierre
Greetings from Pierre, I hope this message finds you and your family well! We are
down to the last two weeks of the 97 th Legislative Session. Crossover day was last
week and it brought some lengthy floor debates on bills that had originated in the
Senate and were trying to make their way to the House. There is a considerable
amount of “vehicle bills” still alive. I will be watching them very closely to ensure
that language is not inserted into them that is harmful to our district or State.
Last week the Senate passed SB 3, An Act to provide for the use and regulate the
sale of marijuana. This bill would allow for the use and possession of up to 4
ounces of marijuana for adults 21 years and older in non-public locations.
Essentially, this is an adult use recreational marijuana bill similar to what was
passed, then challenged in Amendment A. There is an Initiated Measure that will
be on the ballot this fall to do something similar. One of the arguments we heard
for SB 3 is that the Legislature should get ahead of the ballot measure and pass a
statute so that the Legislature maintains control of what a recreational marijuana
program looks like. I have said all along that we should follow the will of the
voters and IM 26 and Amendment A passed overwhelmingly in District 26. I voted
in favor of this bill and it passed by one vote. It will now head to the house for
Did you know that every year in South Dakota that we pass a bill to replenish
what is called the extraordinary litigation fund? This year it was HB 1019 and it
was for $1.5 million dollars. We have to do this because either the legislature has
passed a bill or the administration has made a decision that has been challenged
in court and we lost. During my tenure, the legislature has had to spend close to
$14 million dollars on other people’s attorney’s fees because of these actions. I
have always cautioned my colleagues and warned the administration that these
acts will likely be challenged and we will likely lose but they seem to do it anyway.
This practice really needs to stop. That’s $14 million dollars thrown out the
window when it could have been used for schools, nursing homes, clinics,
daycares, or any other worthwhile entity. I am proud that I have never voted for
any bill that has been challenged!
A couple weeks ago I wrote about HB 1039 An act to provide for the assessment
of certain agricultural land as noncropland. This bill would have been extremely
beneficial to the ranchers in our district that are currently being taxed at the
production level of the soil rather than the actual use of the ground. The House
passed the bill after a lengthy floor debate and sent it to the Senate.
Unfortunately, HB 1039 was killed in Senate Taxation with the help of Governor
Noem’s administration. Ranchers in our district need to take a close look at who
actually supports them.
I was very humbled last Wednesday when Lt. Governor Rhoden asked if I would
like to preside over the Senate for a few bill hearings. It was the first time a
Native has ever had that opportunity, I will forever be grateful for that chance!
Thank you to all the people that attended the recent Cracker Barrels in your
community! If you would like to host one please reach out to me at
Troy.heinert@sdlegislature or call me at 605-319-6570. Thank you for your
continued trust and support in representing you in Pierre!