Democratic Legislative Leadership Expressing Frustration With Progress Of Some Social Issue Bills

(KCCR) — Sioux Falls Representative Jamie Smith, the House Minority Leader, makes it a point to mention something positive to reporters when legislative leaders meet with the press on the final day of the week during the Legislative session. Smith’s frustration with some of the bills heard so far is evident…

“The Governor had a speech that said we’re open for business in the State of South Dakota.  That’s something we can agree on.  We want this to be a business-friendly state.  We want this to be a place that welcomes people; new businesses.  But now, when we see all the bills that are dropped, we have so many bills, and I’m only going to mention a couple right now, but bills that make South Dakota look like a place that’s not welcoming.  It’s not a place that says hey, come here!  Start your business here; bring your family here.”
Smith says bills on transgender surgeries for young people, commercial surrogacy, anti-gay marriage and anti-vaccination bills are taking time away from focusing on important issues…

“What we want to be talking about is 50-thousand people who don’t have health care.  We have roads that need work; bridges that need to be fixed.  We have people that…that need mental health care.  That…that we have people that we lock up in jail instead of give treatment too.  I mean there are so many things we could be talking about, but these are the things that are sucking up our time.  It’s frustrating.”
Senate Minority Leader Troy Heinert says the Legislature has changed since he was first elected…

“As we see bills like this work their way out of the House, that’s not the same body that I served in, even eight years go.  We had good policy discussions and we didn’t have these social issue that a lot of the people who are bringing them actually have zero contact with them, you know, it’s…it’s going after a group of people in South Dakota with fear and that’s sad.”
Legislators return to work Monday for Day 17 of the 37-day session. Twenty days remain in the main session with the final day on March 30th.