Senate Bill 24, Governor Dennis Daugaard’s proposal to extend last summer’s stopgap nonmeandered waters bill for three years, through June 2021, goes before Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources tomorrow (Thursday) morning at 10:00 a.m. in Room 414. It is the only bill on Senate AgNat’s agenda.
Meanwhile, Representative Larry Rhoden (R-29/Union Center) has introduced his own nonmeandered waters legislation, House Bill 1081. It also extends the stopgap bill three years, but with two picky changes:
- Section 1 extends the sunset date to July 1, 2021. The Governor’s bill moves the sunset to June 30, 2021.
- Section 2 sets the enactment date as June 29, two days before the standard statutory date of July 1.
Section 2 suggests a fun little goof in the Governor’s bill. The current stopgap bill is repealed on June 30. The Governor’s three year extension, passed as a normal bill, would not come into effect until July 1. So for one glorious day, there would be no law governing nonmeandered waters (hey! when is “rogue lakes” going to catch on?). Game Fish & Parks would have to shut down all the boat ramps. Fisherpeople could cry “Vive l’anarchie! Attrapez des poissons!” and try storming Bullhead Lake with their kayaks.
HB 1081 avoids that blessed bungle by taking effect on June 29, the day before the scheduled repeal.
But wait—doesn’t a bill need an emergency clause to take effect before July 1? Wouldn’t HB 1081 thus require a two-thirds vote from each chamber to pass?
Apparently, no! SDCL 2-14-16 sets July 1 as the enactment date for bills that don’t specify an enactment date. But the South Dakota Constitution, Article 3 Section 22, only invokes the emergency clause and two-thirds vote requirement on acts that take effect less than 90 days after the Legislature adjourns. This year the Legislature adjourns on March 26. 90 days after that is June 24. Thus, legislators with wild hairs can enact their bills up to seven days before July 1 without invoking an emergency clause.
So fixing the nonmeandered waters law really isn’t an emergency.
But don’t think HB 1081 is just Rep. Rhoden’s way of fixing a minor hole in the Governor’s bill. Rhoden and his Housemates just don’t want to wait for the Senate to write a bill and send it their way. Expect HB 1081 to be treated as a carcass for Rhoden and his House colleagues to hoghouse into whatever real changes they want to make to the rogue-lakes law.