HB 1140 need your help

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Heads up; some of the responses we have been getting back from some House Ag. Members is just not true about HB 1140 Open fields

1. This bill is being brought forward by the GFP, at the request from the Gov. If any GFP employee wishes to keep their state job, they must agree and support this bill from the Gov. in public and the Legislature.

2. This bill does single out our Conservation Officers and stops them from using “open fields” as a tool in their tool box, to stop poaching of the public’s wildlife. Every other law enforcement officer is still allowed to use “open fields”

3. This bill is not closing a loophole it is changing the law!

4. Every Conservation Officer in SD is trained and educated like all other law enforcement officers in the state, treat them equally, let them do their job for all people of SD.

PLEASE it is very important each and every one of us becomes involved in this matter. Send your concerns to House Ag. Members today ask them to VOTE NO on HB 1140 next week.

House Ag. Members; caleb.finck@sdlegislature.gov, charlie.hoffman@sdlegislature.gov, dean.wink@sdlegislature.gov, lynn.schneider@sdlegislature.gov, marty.overweg@sdlegislature.gov, nancy.york@sdlegislature.gov, oren.lesmeister@sdlegislature.gov, richard.vasgaard@sdlegislature.gov, rocky.blare@sdlegislature.gov, roger.chase@sdlegislature.gov, sam.marty@sdlegislature.gov, tim.goodwin@sdlegislature.gov, trish.ladner@sdlegislature.gov

Please also send ALL House members and ask them to vote NO on HB 1140 if it reaches the House Floor.

House members; becky.drury@sdlegislature.govchris.johnson@sdlegislature.govdean.wink@sdlegislature.govjess.olson@sdlegislature.govkirk.chaffee@sdlegislature.govliz.may@sdlegislature.govmary.fitzgerald@sdlegislature.govmike.derby@sdlegislature.govoren.lesmeister@sdlegislature.govperi.pourier@sdlegislature.govphil.jensen@sdlegislature.govrebecca.reimer@sdlegislature.govsam.marty@sdlegislature.govscott.odenbach@sdlegislature.govshawn.bordeaux@sdlegislature.govtaffy.howard@sdlegislature.govtim.goodwin@sdlegislature.govtimothy.johns@sdlegislature.govtina.mulally@sdlegislature.govtony.randolph@sdlegislature.govtrish.ladner@sdlegislature.gov ,aaron.aylward@sdlegislature.govarch.beal@sdlegislature.govbethany.soye@sdlegislature.govcarl.perry@sdlegislature.govchris.karr@sdlegislature.govdoug.barthel@sdlegislature.govdrew.dennert@sdlegislature.governie.otten@sdlegislature.govfred.deutsch@sdlegislature.govgreg.jamison@sdlegislature.govhugh.bartels@sdlegislature.govjennifer.keintz@sdlegislature.govjohn.mills@sdlegislature.govkaleb.weis@sdlegislature.govlana.greenfield@sdlegislature.govlarry.tidemann@sdlegislature.govmark.willadsen@sdlegislature.govmarli.wiese@sdlegislature.govnancy.york@sdlegislature.govrandy.gross@sdlegislature.govrhonda.milstead@sdlegislature.govrichard.thomason@sdlegislature.govsteven.haugaard@sdlegislature.govsue.peterson@sdlegislature.govtamara.stjohn@sdlegislature.govtim.reed@sdlegislature.gov ,david.anderson@sdlegislature.goverin.healy@sdlegislature.govjamie.smith@sdlegislature.govjon.hansen@sdlegislature.govkent.peterson@sdlegislature.govkevin.jensen@sdlegislature.govlance.koth@sdlegislature.govlinda.duba@sdlegislature.govmike.stevens@sdlegislature.govmike.weisgram@sdlegislature.govpaul.miskiminsdlegislature.govryan.cwach@sdlegislature.govspencer.gosch@sdlegislature.govsydney.davis@sdlegislature.govtaylor.rehfeldt@sdlegislature.govtom.pischke@sdlegislature.govwill.mortenson@sdlegislature.gov

Here are our talking points against HB 1140;

An Act to restrict entry of conservation officers onto certain lands without permission

1)      SD Conservation Officers have a wide range of duties and since approximately 80% of South Dakotas 77,000 square miles is privately owned, much of their work involves private lands that are open fields.

2)      Our sportsmen’s and sportswomen’s license fees, along with the Federal Aid funding for wildlife restoration and management make up the revenue structure for our Division of Wildlife – the Division of Wildlife does NOT receive any state general funds.

3)      License and wildlife compliance checks on BOTH private and public lands are critical to ensure that people are paying their fees for continued resource management and conservation efforts.

4)      Our Conservation Officers are required to complete the exact same law enforcement training at the DCI Academy as ALL other sworn officers who work in South Dakota.

5)      The Open Fields Doctrine applies to All law enforcement officers whether they be Federal, State, or local and the Doctrine allows all Officers to enter open fields to perform their duties as authorized.

6)      The open fields’ doctrine has been reviewed many times by both the US Supreme Court and South Dakota Supreme Court. In addition, the South Dakota Attorney General also affirmed the Court’s decision with Official Opinion No. 04-01 in January of 2004 as it applies specifically to Conservation Officers.

7)      Compliance checks in and around open fields play a critical role in enforcing regulations that conserve and sustain our wildlife populations.  In addition, compliance checks help protect landowners against trespass and vandalism in addition to the education and interaction with the public.

8)      Any proposed law which would require the officers to obtain permission from a landowner, or which would require “probable cause or reasonable suspicion that a crime has been, is being or is about to be committed,” significantly interferes with the officer’s ability to enter those open fields to conduct his/her authorized purpose to protect natural resources.  A legal question also pertains to our TIPS Program – does an anonymous complaint to TIPS constitute “probable cause or reasonable suspicion” as required before the Officer can enter private ground?

9)      HB 1140 does NOT impact an officer’s legal ability to conduct compliance checks on PUBLIC land.  Consequently this bill creates TWO classes of sportspersons: those who are essentially free from compliance checks, and those who are not!  It is unfair to those who don’t have the money, political connections or other means to access private lands.

10)   HB 1140 appears to be in direct opposition to our SD Constitution Article VI Section 18 – Equal Privileges or Immunities – “No law shall be passed granting to any citizen, class of citizens, or corporation, privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens or corporations.”

11)   If HB 1140 were truly a private property or 4th Amendment search and seizure issue, it would apply to ALL law enforcement officers.  Instead, ONLY Conservation Officers are singled out, while US Fish and Wildlife Officers, Sheriffs, Policemen, Highway Patrol, etc. are free to continue utilizing the open fields pursuant to their authorized duties.

12)   Why does this bill only apply to our Conservation Officers?  Have a very small number of landowners, guides or outfitters become upset when hunters on their land, perhaps paying customers were ticketed for violations?

13)   Is there specific evidence that documents that private landowners are being overrun by our Conservation Officers and trampling landowner’s rights?

14)   The Governor’s press release on HB 1140  states: “ It’s important that we close the open fields loophole to ensure that our private property rights are protected just as the fourth amendment protects our homes from unreasonable search and seizure”.  The fallacy of that statement is that the Supreme Court of the United States AND the Supreme Court of South Dakota have both clearly ruled that a Conservation Officer does NOT violate private property rights by entering privately owned lands constituting open fields without probable cause, reasonable suspicion, consent or permission, or a search warrant when performing his statutory duties.  Such activity does not constitute an unreasonable search or seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution OR Article VI, Section 11 of the South Dakota Constitution.  This is the Law – not a Loophole!!!

 

 

 

 


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