South Dakota senator frustrated with bills ‘smoked out’ this session

Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 7:57 AM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. (WNAX) - Senator Art Rusch is the chairman of the South Dakota Senate Judiciary Committee. The Republican Senator from Vermillion said he was not happy that a couple of bills his committee killed were smoked out on the Senate floor and passed this session.

“And I thought they were bad bills when we killed them in committee, and I thought they were bad bills when they got passed,” he told WNAX in Yankton.

One bill was House Bill 1217, which promotes “fairness in women’s sports” and discriminates against transgender athletes. The other was the enhanced “stand your ground” bill.

“The committee, we spent hours listening to testimony on each of those bills and the floor, they don’t hear any of that testimony, and in fact, they can’t hear from anybody other than other senators. So I thought it was really a bad idea that they were smoking out that many bills,” Sen. Rusch said.

He said Senators often don’t get all the information they need in short floor debate.

“You know, the one got pretty well gutted before they were able to get it passed; smoked out and passed. The other one, the information they gave to the legislators on the floor was just was simply untrue,” he said.

A bill can be smoked out when at least 12 Senators move to vote on the motion. A majority vote is then needed to bring the bill to the floor for debate.

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