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South Dakota legislature could be looking at a special session this summer

Rapid City area legislators have differing opinions on meeting this way to discuss some of the big-ticket items that didn’t get finalized during the regular session.
Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 5:44 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The 2021 legislative session wrapped up last week after a little more than two months. And now, there’s talk of a potential special session.

A special session would mean the South Dakota legislative body meets outside of their allotted nine weeks.

Rapid City area legislators have differing opinions on meeting this way to discuss some of the big-ticket items that didn’t get finalized during the regular session.

District 34 representative Mike Derby, said he would support a special session if it tackled more than one big issue.

“It’s for big issues that can’t be dealt with in next year’s session,” said Derby. “So medical marijuana, I would say fits into that because we need to be ready for July 1st. We need to get an update, there’s still some negotiation going back and forth on the final language of I-M 26, so that’s a big deal.”

Other items on the potential agenda could include House Bill 1217 on transgender athletes and new federal COVID dollars coming to the state. But district 32 senator Helene Duhamel said she doesn’t believe this is the way to tackle those issues.

”The committee process, that’s what we spend out nine weeks doing,” said Duhamel. “That’s how we can come to a consensus on big issues and I think that’s the best way to do legislative changes. Trying to do it over the summer, over a day or two, without that committee hearing process, hearing from the proponents, the opponents, it just isn’t the best way to make laws.”

Derby believes a special session could come in May or early June to discuss medical marijuana.

There is also another session set for November 8th and 9th to determine new legislative districts.

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