Governor Kristi Noem wants to knock a five-million-dollar hole in the general fund by eliminating the $150 fee businesses must pay the Secretary of State to do corporate business in South Dakota, the $50 they must pay with their annual reports, the $30 filing fees that must accompany those papers, and a smattering of other fees. The Governor also wants to eliminate all fees for criminal background checks and other parts of the process for obtaining concealed pistol permits.
Alas for anti-tax and pro-gun activists, Noem piles this disparate proposals into one bill, Senate Bill 212. This bill’s title reads, “An Act to revise certain fees collected by the Office of the Secretary of State,” but local authorities collect the concealed pistol permit fee of $10 and the renewal fee of $5 and keep 30% of that money. Sheriffs collect the $60 application fee, $35 renewal fee, and extra costs for processing criminal background checks for enhanced permits and the $40 application fee and $40 renewal fee for gold card permits. None of these locally collected fees are mentioned in the title. South Dakota Constitution Article 3 Section 21 requires that the single subject of any law “shall be expressed in its title.” SB 212 thus violates the South Dakota Constitution and cannot pass.
Even if we rewrite the SB 212’s title to mention all the fees and agencies affected, SB 212 encompasses separate subjects. Gun permit fees collected by local officials and business registration fees collected by state officials are absolutely separate subjects. Article 3 Section 21 prohibits any law from embracing more than one subject. SB 212 thus violates the single-subject rule, is unconstitutional, and cannot pass.
For all the time Kristi Noem spent as a legislator, she seems to be stunningly bad at writing bills that comply with basic constitutional requirements. Maybe she should just take a break in her sauna and let attentive legislators write our bills.