Capitol Conversation: A preview of Noem’s State of the State and bills already filed

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Updated at 8:03: In the conversation, we discussed industrial hemp as a major topic for the 2020 legislative session. The story changed after recording, late Wednesday, when Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) told Bob Mercer that she would support industrial hemp with “guardrails.”

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Capitol News Bureau Correspondent Bob Mercer and Reporter Michael Geheren sat down for a discussion we’re calling Capitol Conversation.

This week, we’re previewing the 2020 South Dakota Legislative session, which begins on Tuesday.


HB 1004 — Provide for the defense of laws by the Legislature. This bill from the Executive Board would allow a majority of the board or both legislative chambers by concurrent resolution to select outside legal counsel, instead of using the state attorney general. It also would allow the House or the Senate to determine its own position and by a majority vote choose outside legal counsel. It would open the way to as many as three positions — the House, the Senate and the attorney general — on a matter. It also would allow for a majority of current legislators in a chamber taking a different position on a state law than that of previous legislators who passed the law, or the current attorney general. This issue is rising in the case of redistricting disputes. Several South Dakota cases have come up in recent years as well.

HB 1005 — Revise certain provisions regarding the use of telehealth technologies. This bill from an interim legislative committee would change some of the ways that telehealth services can be delivered.

HB 1006 — Authorize the secretary of revenue to contract with certain entities for purposes of maintaining a database to determine agricultural income value and to specify the mandatory and permissive data of the database. This bill from the agricultural-assessment task force would allow state government to contract with more than South Dakota State University on cropland data, and add statewide cow and calf prices to non-cropland data.

SB 1 — Provide for the use of electronic communication in the involuntary commitment process and to declare an emergency. This bill from an interim legislative committee would expand the ways a person’s mental-health condition could be examined. The emergency clause means it would require a two-thirds majority in each chamber for passage; and would take effect immediately after becoming state law, rather than the normal July 1.

SB 2 — Require the Department of Social Services to fully support a statewide centralized resource information system. This bill from an interim legislative committee would fully fund a 211 system in the 66 counties.

Click here to explore the other bills that have been pre-filed.

Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) will be delivering her State of the State address on Tuesday afternoon. She outlined several of her priorities for 2020 in a weekly column.

NEW this year: Security will be stepped up at the Capitol Building. Visitors will enter through the north doors and be directed into the screening room. Signage will help direct visitors what to do and inform them of what items are not allowed in the Capitol.

To stay updated on everything happening in Pierre, follow Mercer’s Twitter, Facebook and stay up-to-date on the Capitol News Bureau page on