SD Stockgrowers view 2009 legislative session as a success
The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association was generally pleased with the outcome of this year S.D. legislative session. SDSGA Executive Director Margaret Nachtigall said there were episodes of disappointment throughout the session but there were many victories as well for the state's largest cattle organization.
Nachtigall mentioned a few bills the Stockgrowers lobbied:
House Bill 1061 regarding shippers permits; HB 1064 regarding bills of sale; and 1065 requiring voluntary horse brands--were all opposed by SDSGA and all were defeated.
House Bill 1062 raises reward for information leading to arrest of livestock theft, and HB 1063 allowing branding newly purchased cattle with an out-of-state brand at an auction market when cattle will be immediately moved out of state--SDSGA supported both of these bills and both passed to the Governor.
SB 105 brings oversight to the brand inspection program by requiring the Brand Board to make available reports on number of livestock inspected, funds, disposition of holds, requires senate confirmation of Brand Board member appointees, etc. The reasoning for this bill is that after the state took over the brand inspection there was no longer the oversight by the Brand Board that had been present in the past. SB 105 is on its way to the Governor's desk
SB 188, which would have divided the state into districts for the purpose of appointing Brand Board members by the Governor, was tabled.
HB 1224, which would have assured producers that animal identification would remain voluntary in South Dakota unless a federal program superseded the state law, did not pass. SDSGA District 14 Director Jim Murphy, Reliance, S.D., was unhappy with the response, or lack thereof, from his representatives. "I would say that everybody should watch what the legislature is doing and know if their legislators are representing their constituents or the administration and the party leaders. If South Dakotans don't keep in contact with their legislators and watch their votes carefully, they will often find their legislators are voting in opposition to their beliefs."
SDSGA Vice President Kenny Fox, Belvidere, S.D., was disappointed in the ag organizations and legislators who opposed HB 1224. "A vote against 1224 was in essence supporting a so-called voluntary National Animal Identification System (NAIS) that allows for coercion and exclusionary tactics to force individuals to comply with the NAIS," said Fox. The Stockgrowers don't consider their efforts wasted, however, as there were a lot of members who educated and informed legislators and others through the lobbying process. "Thank you to all the producers who made trips to Pierre, made phone calls and sent e-mails in support of 1224 and other legislation of importance to the Stockgrowers," said Fox. He noted that many organizations helped lobby in favor of the bill, including the Black Hills Angus Association, Dakota Rural Action, Center of the Nation Quarter Horse Association, South Dakota Quarter Horse Association, South Dakota Sheepgrowers Association, South Dakota State Association of County Commissioners, Oglala Sioux Livestock and the Landowners Association and Women Involved in Farm Economics. "Also a special thanks to Representative Lance Russell for introducing the bill and Representatives Brunner, Carson, Dreyer, Elliot, Fargen, Feickert, Feinstein, Frerichs, Gosch, Hamiel, Hunhoff, Iron Cloud III, Jensen, Killer, Kirkeby, Kirschman, Kopp, Lange, Lucas, McLaughlin, Olson (Betty), Olson (Ryan), Romkema, Russell, Schrempp, Sly, Solberg, Steele, Thompson, Van Gerpen, Verchio and Wink who voted in support of the final version of 1224. Their support was very much appreciated."
Nachtigall listed some of the additional bills on which the Stockgrowers gave testimony:
HB1005--dealt with certain land acquisitions by GF&P
SB 3--addressed assessment of agricultural land for tax purposes.
SB 4--regarding certain tax levy limitations for school districts
SB 43 & 44--designed to repeal tax exemption on certain amateur sports.
HB 1196--would have required the consent of certain local governments before creating tax incremental districts.
Nachtigall said, "All in all, I think we had a pretty successful legislative session this year thanks to our lobbyist Jeremiah Murphy and so many SDSGA members doing what needed to be done."