SD Legislature continues busy schedule, debates several bills midway through session

Jamison Lamp

Jamison Lamp

Today marks the mid-point of the 84th Legislative Session. Over the course of the session, close to 300 House and over 200 Senate bills been introduced, and four bills have been signed into law by Gov. Michael Rounds.

HB 1090: Prohibit the possession of Salvia Dvinorum, and to declare an emergency -putting the bill into action immediately following the signature of the Governor. Salvia, as it is commonly referred to, is an herb that offers short highs or visionary states. The bill passed in the House of Representatives and will soon be scheduled for hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB 1125: Prohibit the used of certain wireless communications devices while driving. A wireless communications device is defined as one that is capable of sending or receiving text messages and e-mails. Violations would be listed as careless driving and considered a petty offense. The bill is waiting to be scheduled in the House State Affairs Committee.

HB 1154: Revise Requirements for eligibility for Opportunity Scholarships. Passing of this bill will allow students to leave their South Dakota institution for no more than two consecutive semesters and come back to the university and continue to receive Opportunity Scholarship benefits. The bill passed the House floor 37-29 and is awaiting hearing in the Senate education committee.

HB 1257: Provide for the right to possess a firearm on the campuses of public institutions of higher education. The bill was scheduled for hearing this morning in the House Education Committee.

HB 1274: Prohibit smoking, chewing, possessing, distributing or selling tobacco products. This bill was also scheduled for hearing this morning in the House State Affairs Committee.

SB 83: Prohibit smoking tobacco or carrying lighted tobacco products in certain places and to require certain persons to inform violators of the prohibition. The Health and Human Services Committee passed the bill unanimously, but it failed on the Senate floor 17-18.

SB 139: Provide for certain restrictions for the use of tanning devices by minors. Senate Health and Human Services passed the bill 6-1, but it failed on the floor 13-22. Under this law, minors would not be allowed to use tanning beds without parental or legal guardian consent.

Laws that are signed become law on July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year, unless passed with an emergency clause, which would put the law into action immediately.

Feb. 23 is the last day in which bills can be introduced in either house.

Vetoes will be considered on March 30.

More information can be found at the Legislative Research Council’s Web site,

District 7 legislators are Reps. Carol Pitts and Larry Tidemann and Sen. Pam Merchant.