South Dakota 2016 Legislative Billwatch

Pierre_20120105nfThe 2016 session of the South Dakota Legislature officially began yesterday, and officially ends March 29.

As of this writing, there were 53 bills introduced in the House, with the vast majority introduced not by individual legislators but rather at the request of various state agencies. The same is true of the 53 bills introduced in the Senate.

In the South Dakota House, “Republicans” have an 83% supermajority, and in the Senate, “Republicans” have a 77% supermajority.  With this kind of overwhelming majority by people who call themselves “Republicans,” you would expect bills that promote the conservative items in the South Dakota GOP platform would sail quickly through the legislature for a sure-fire signature by our “Republican” governor, and that liberal positions held by the Democrat Party (like excusing and promoting illegal immigration, promoting the homosexual/transgender agenda, opposing religious freedom, promoting new and increased taxes, promoting inept federal control of education, and the like ) would quickly die with almost no support in committee.

Ted Cruz 2016


Alas, this has not been the case for the many years “Republicans” have had a supermajority in the South Dakota Legislature. That is because while there is indeed a majority of people who call themselves “Republicans” in the South Dakota Legislature, there is not a majority of people behaving like Republicans in the South Dakota Legislature. In case you aren’t sure how Republicans are supposed to behave, there is an extensive list of Republican positions found in the South Dakota GOP Platform. While there are a handful of Republicans who behave like Republicans in the legislature, most are either Democrats who figured out they couldn’t get elected if they called themselves what they really are, or they couldn’t hold to a consistent political philosophy if their life depended on, or they simply don’t understand the issues and the philosophical background of those issues.

As American Clarion has done for many years, we will provide “legislative billwatch” articles regularly so that you know when important bills are coming up for a vote in committee and on the floor.  This will provide you with an opportunity to call or email your elected representatives ahead of time about important bills to let them know what you think. You can also listen in on live coverage of hearings, or even go to Pierre and attend hearings in person on important bills.

This year, American Clarion will not only be tracking bills of real and potential importance, but we will also be creating a real-time scorecard of the most important legislation which shows how the legislators voted with regard to the conservative values that made the United States the greatest nation in history.

Woodrow Wilcox


Not only will floor votes be scored, but committee votes will be scored as well. Liberal legislators will often kill good bills in committee, where they think no one is looking, and expect to get away with it scot free because floor votes are usually all that is reported on or scored in some scorecards.  Not so here.

As we can, American Clarion will provide detailed reports on committee votes and committee discussion, so you will know which legislators have stood up for the values they profess on the campaign trail..and which ones have betrayed those values and the values of the taxpayers of South Dakota.

Below is a list of bills already of interest at American Clarion. Some are supported, some are opposed, and others we’re just “watching” (sometimes what you think is a good bill can turn out bad–especially if amended–and what you think is a bad bill can be fixed to become a good bill…and sometimes a bill can be hijacked and turned completely inside out).  As new bills are introduced, we’ll add appropriate ones to our tracking.

Hang onto your hat (and your wallet), South Dakota. Another legislative session is off and running!

Bill Title
HB 1001 repeal the Midwestern Regional Higher Education Compact.
HB 1002 eliminate certain reporting requirements for the county general fund.
HB 1006 authorize counties to impose sales and use taxes.
HB 1008 restrict access to certain restrooms and locker rooms in public schools.
HB 1012 provide for an additional position in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to coordinate economic development with the tribes and to make an appropriation therefor.
HB 1013 revise certain provisions regarding alternative instruction achievement tests for children excused from school attendance.
HB 1033 revise certain provisions concerning elections and election petitions and to declare an emergency.
HB 1048 revise certain provisions regarding the authority of the South Dakota Lottery Commission to regulate video lottery.
HB 1052 revise certain alcoholic beverage business restrictions on Department of Revenue employees.
SB 24 prohibit the sale of fetal body parts and to provide a penalty therefor.

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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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