Troy Heinert of District 26 Reporting from Pierre
Greetings friends, neighbors, fellow tribal members, and especially to the District 26 constituents. The second week of the 93rd Legislative Session has seen an abundance of committee work. We are primarily dealing with “agency” bills right now with a few individually sponsored pieces of legislation in the mix. An agency bill is a bill that a state government department, the Governor, or a special task force/summer study has created instead of an individual legislator. There are over 600 pieces of legislation in the hopper so far which is double the amount we saw during last year's session. How they all fare remains to be seen.
One of the bills that we had in committee and on the Senate floor was SB 26. This bill deals with the reporting requirements of Class A and Class B grain buyers to adequately protect producers who contract their grain. There was an issue in Kingsbury County last year that created the need for this bill. Many producers lost not only their grain, but also the hard work and expenses they incurred to grow their crops. Had this law been in place last year, it could have caught the fraudulent scheme that stole these farmers grain. SB 26 passed the Senate Ag committee and the Senate floor unanimously, and hopefully it has the same result in the House.
In Senate State Affairs, we had numerous bills dealing with campaign finance and initiated referendums. Most of these have come from the task force we created during last year's session to deal with the repeal of IM 22, which the voters passed. Some of them are good common-sense proposals, while others try to make the initiated measure process harder in South Dakota. I believe in the initiated measure process and do not support any attempt to make this process more difficult for the people of South Dakota.
After Session on Wednesday, Jan. 17, NCSL hosted a Sexual Harassment/Civility training for anyone who wanted to attend. The rooms were packed with legislators, lobbyists, reporters, and the public. Sadly, not all members of the Legislature attended. There were a few that used it to make a political statement and distract from the messages that were being taught.
Thursday, Jan. 18, was a joyous occasion in Pierre as the South Dakota Tourism held its annual conference and awards gala. I was privileged to attend and was extremely happy to see people from District 26 actively participating in all the events. During a panel discussion, a question was asked about how we increase tourism on our Reservations. This is a great opportunity to get outside dollars coming into our counties and reservations. I will be working with the Department of Tribal Relations and the Department of Tourism to increase these opportunities. District 26 has many beautiful attractions and friendly businesses that travelers could and should include during their vacation. From Dignity, the Missouri, Wacipis, rodeos, hunting and fishing, trail rides, biking and to the countless businesses, I truly believe that District 26 is the best place for travelers to learn, enjoy, and make memories for their families. South Dakota Tourism is a shining star in state government and is led by arguably the BEST tourism director in the nation, Sec. Jim Hagen! Sec. Hagen and his staff have grown this industry to new heights in South Dakota and continues to find exciting ways to attract travelers from all over the world. I would like to congratulate all the people in the tourism industry as you and your hospitality represent the entire state each time you interact with a visitor. Thank you for all that you do!
Last Friday I was able to again join Disability Rights South Dakota in their Partners in Policy Legislative Training Session. I have been a part of this effort my entire tenure in the Legislature, and I truly enjoy it. There were 6 members of the legislature that set up a mock committee hearing to hear testimony from the disabled community. The exercise is to teach clients DRSD how the legislative process works and give them the confidence to testify or contact us on any issue. I am positive that we, as legislators, learned more from our friends in the program than they learned from us. The amount of work they put into to preparing their arguments and practicing their speeches was evident, and it was an awesome feeling to watch them complete their goal. What an awesome event and program; feel free to reach out to them and learn more.
I sincerely thank you for the responsibility of representing you in the South Dakota Senate. It is truly an honor and a privilege! Please reach out to me with any concerns or ideas, and I will do the best job I can for you. I am currently scheduling Cracker Barrels across our district, and I hope to see you at those as well. I can be reached at 605-319-6570 or at Troy.firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!