Home > 2015 SD Legislative Session > House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee has 2 bills on Tues Mar 3

House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee has 2 bills on Tues Mar 3

March 2, 2015
Geese at the SD State capital building. Photo by Ken Santema 02/24/15.

Geese at the SD State capital building. Photo by Ken Santema 02/24/15.

On Tuesday, March 3rd, at 7:45 AM the SD House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee will take on 2 bills.

SB 2 – SoDakLiberty PostsProvide for the establishment of river basin natural resource districts.

Sen Jason Frerichs (D, Dist 1) and Rep Brian Gosch (R, Dist 32) are the prime sponsors at the request of the Regional Watershed Advisory Task Force. This bill passed Senate Ag 6-3 after being amended. It then passed the Senate floor 20-12.

Here is what Sen Frerichs has to say about the bill:

Northeast South Dakota and the persistent problem of excess surface water received strong support in the State Senate with passage of SB2. This bill originated from our regional watershed taskforce after studying the issue for three years. SB2 creates nine river basin natural resource districts that cover the entire state for water management. Included in the legislation is a pilot project to take a hands-on look at a potential water and natural resources management plan for a basin district. An oversight legislative taskforce is one more component of SB2 which will draw the boundaries for the districts, identify the framework for water management plans, and identify the necessary powers and duties of the river basin natural resource districts. I serve as the prime sponsor of SB2 and have enjoyed garnering strong support from legislators all across the State. Even more important is the fact that over half of the prevailing votes on SB2 in the Senate came from legislators representing the two largest cities – Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Respect for the need to tackle the problem of water management on an entire basin approach is real, and as a rural legislator, I will continue to build bridges with my urban colleagues. SB2 will be up for a hearing in the House agriculture and natural resources committee and appears to have widespread support.

This is an interesting bill. A big part of me is wary of the bill because it could lead to crazy requirements and overstep of authority as is happening with the EPA. But as a resident of NE SD I have heard about the many water issues here and understand where Frerichs is coming from about excess water. I’ll have to listen to testimony to find out more about this legislation.

SB 3 – SoDakLiberty PostsProvide for mediation of certain drainage disputes.

Sen Mike Vehle (R, Dist 20) and Rep Brian Gosch (R, Dist 32) are the prime sponsors at the request of the Regional Watershed Advisory Task Force. This bill was amended in Senate Ag and passed that committee 8-0. It then passed the Senate floor 32-2. This is a HUGE topic… especially here in Brown County, where the County Commissioners act as the drainage board. There have been a lot of incidents where neighbors get into battles (sometimes with fists) over water drainage issues. I don’t see getting the Dept of Ag involved as the answer. Personally I think keeping the drainage board local to deal with disputes is the best system.

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