Student Senate tackles state legislation


J. Michael Bertsch, Managing Editor (He/Him)

The Students’ Association Senate is collectively taking stances and testifying in support of South Dakota state legislation, including Senate Bill 27, SB 171 and House Bill 1210.

The Feb. 8 SA meeting resulted in the passage of Resolution 20-19-R, which voices SA’s support for SB 27.

According to Vice President of Student Affairs and SA Adviser, Michaela Willis, SB 27 will give the South Dakota Board of Regents control of online and in-person course costs.

“What this bill does is basically … allows the Board of Regents the flexibility to set tuition based on their understanding of the market and the environment,” Willis said. “It would give the Board the ability, should they choose, to simplify tuition rates, or they could decide to leave it the same … but it does give local control.”

According to the text of the resolution, SA supports the bill because, if passed, it would “eliminate the mandated difference in cost” between on and off-campus courses, and give the SDBOR “freedom to provide the optimal cost of education for students.”

In addition to SB 27, SA will be voting on resolutions to support SB 171, which would establish a needs-based scholarship called the “South Dakota Freedom Scholarship,” and HB 120, which would provide money to the SDBOR for a new bioproducts facility at the research park.

Members of SA are also testifying for these bills at the state Capitol building in Pierre. According to SA President Hattie Seten, her and Vice Pres. Reis Bruley went to the Capitol to speak in favor of SB 171 during committee.

“We don’t have any issue that is more important legislatively than SB 171,” Brian Maher, executive director and CEO of the SDBOR, said. “I was tickled to hear your president and vice president speak (to the Senate State Affairs committee). They gave a powerful message … on the importance of SB 171.”


Other updates from SA

Christopher Svarstad and Nathan Price announced their intent to run for president and vice president of the Students’ Association during public comments; however, the pair will need to either be nominated by a current member of the Senate or file a petition with signatures from 5% of the student body.

Charter Day, Feb. 21, celebrates the founding of SDSU. This year will be the 140th anniversary of SDSU’s founding.

The SDSU Rodeo Team is hoping to hold its annual competition April 9. The team is in contact with the Swiftel Center and looking at other outdoor venues.