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Watch: Noem discusses her agenda in possible 2021 special legislative session

Governor Kristi Noem sits down with Austin Goss for a wide-ranging interview on a variety of...
Governor Kristi Noem sits down with Austin Goss for a wide-ranging interview on a variety of topics, to include the 2021 state legislative session, a potential special session, her veto and response to HB 1217 (the transgender sports bill), dangerous drought conditions across the state, and much more.
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 12:21 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Governor Kristi Noem still plans to call state lawmakers back to Pierre for a special session. It would focus on federal COVID-19 relief money coming to South Dakota, medical marijuana, and a transgender sports bill.

In an interview with Dakota News Now’s Austin Goss, Gov. Noem discusses the things she would like to see worked on in the proposed 2021 special legislative session.

Noem on proposed changes to medical marijuana

After South Dakota voters approved legalizing both medicinal and recreational marijuana last November. many hurdles have come in the way of implementing laws to govern the drug in the state.

While the recreational marijuana issue awaits its day in court, lawmakers and the governor are still ironing out the details of medical marijuana before it becomes legal on July 1st.

Governor Noem has sent a proposal to lawmakers with some suggestions about medical marijuana that she would like to see made before it becomes legal. That proposal includes a limit on the number of marijuana plants South Dakotans could grow, as it sits there’s a minimum of three plants but no maximum. She would also like to see a few rule changes made to help the department of health regulate the drug properly and also ban those under the age of 21 from smoking marijuana.

“I’ve told the legislators that I’m willing to have the debate. Come to me with your ideas, let’s see how we can work together. These three provisions are things I told them I’d like them to consider, but that doesn’t mean if they don’t have ideas, that I’d love to hear them. And that’s really what the legislative process is. Sometimes it’s messy and sometimes people look at it and see the arguments and the disagreements, but it’s really how we get better policy,” said Noem. “Already we had to spend $4 million dollars to stand it up in a responsible manner so it’s already cost the taxpayers millions of dollars to run this program. I just think these provisions, putting them in place would allow us to run this program responsibly. Make sure that we’re not just opening the door to everyone growing hundreds of acres of medical marijuana and then our ability to regulate it is going to be very difficult”

Noem discusses transgender sports legislation

Governor Noem issued two executive orders last week regarding transgender athletes. One order focused on high school athletics, the other, on college programs. Governor Noem says her focus remains on protecting title nine.

“I know a lot of people look at this through a different lens, I see it as a fairness issue. I see it as an opportunity for girls that women had to fight for and I’d like to see it protected. That’s another reason why I’d like to have this debate in two different bills. I would like to have the k-12 protections in one bill and the collegiate in another because if the NCAA did choose to sue South Dakota over this provision, or a big business did choose to sue over the collegiate women’s sports, it doesn’t enjoin and tie up my k-12 system. If that goes into court and it litigated immediately, the law doesn’t stand and I can’t enforce it”

Noem discusses banning vaccine passports

As vaccines become more accessible to Americans nationwide, the question of vaccine passports and requiring vaccination to travel to certain places continues. Vaccine passports would have someone’s coronavirus information on it to determine if they are eligible to travel to certain places.

According to the White House, roughly 40% of American adults have at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, but will that vaccine be required to travel.

As of now, the governors of Florida and Texas have both used executive power to ban the use of vaccine passports, and Governor Noem says she agrees with those actions.

“We’ve looked at drafting executive orders, I also want to make sure I’m not overstepping my authority and what I can do. The state government will certainly not be mandating or making sure that’s there’s any kind of enforcement on a vaccine passport and we’re looking at what implications are of these types of decisions and what we need to do when it comes to private businesses and other entities in local government as well.”

Full interview

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