Mitch Richter will be lobbying this legislative session assisted by Dave Nauman and volunteer lobbyist George Vandel. Mitch Richter is a former legislator serving 8 years from Sioux Falls in the House and for the past 20 years has been lobbying in Pierre as a contract lobbyist. Dave Nauman has been representing SDWF for many years. George Vandel is a former GFP employee and brings science and his expertise as a long-time state employee to the table.
The 98th Session of the South Dakota Legislature got underway on January 10th. The first day of session the Governor gave her State of the State speech, day two was the State of the Judiciary, and day three was the State of the tribes. There are 29 new legislators in the House and 5 new legislators in the Senate. Committees started to meet on Wednesday basically to get organized and set the rules. Most committees are NOT going to allow remote testimony. If you plan on testifying, you’ll need to be in the room for the hearing. There will be some exceptions, but rarely will they be granted.
Most of the bills introduced the first week of session were department bills from state agencies or bills that came through summer studies. So far there have been 133 bills introduced. The GFP have a couple of clean up bills, HB 1018 An Act to repeal the authorized forfeiture of property used in the illegal capture of fish and HB 1019 An Act to repeal certain requirements for Game, Fish and Parks licensing agents. Both bills will be heard on Tuesday the 17th. I’m told they don’t have other bills to introduce, there are discussions but nothing they currently plan on introducing at this time.
It appeared to be a more productive first week than past first weeks and next week committees will have bills to be heard in committees. You can follow all the action in Pierre by using the Legislative Research Council’s website.