KELO-TV says Governor Kristi Noem wants to (KELO’s words) “wrap up industrial hemp legislation within a few days.” The Legislature rarely does anything in the first few days of Session, but I suspect Noem’s new advisors that the sooner she gets her long hemp obstinance and now stunning and numerically amnesiac flip-flop on hemp out of the headlines, the better.
But you can’t count on Kristi to concentrate on anything. Noem is skipping the second day of Session to jet to a photo op in Washington D.C. to witness the signing of Trump’s first articles of surrender to China:
Gov. Kristi Noem will be traveling to Washington D.C. on Wednesday for the signing of “phase one,” of a trade agreement between the U.S. and China.
…Noem will go with South Dakota soybean producer Jerry Schmitz and pork producer Craig Andersen to the White House.
…In a media briefing after her address to the legislature, Noem said she was invited to the White House by Trump. Noem said she asked to bring along the farmers [Michael Geheren, “Noem to Visit White House for Signing ‘Phase One’ China Trade Agreement,” KELO-TV, 2020.01.14].
To the good, Noem at least had the good sense of optics to invite along a couple of the farmers actually harmed by Trump’s tariffs, while Trump apparently forgot about them. He probably just wanted Kristi to come so he could talk about Mount Rushmore fireworks with her again.
But Noem’s desire for optics means that she’s not spending time in the Capitol doing what her words on hemp suggest she should be doing: jawboning, buttonholing, and strongarming still tractor-lagged legislators to amend hemp-legalizing House Bill 1008 to include all of her “guardrails“, push it through committees, and get it to her desk for a quiet signing ceremony next week before the real legislative fireworks start going off. The only photo ops the Governor and any legislator should be attending Wednesday should be at the Capitol, where they all should be getting the people’s work done.