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HB 1003: Eliminate Prison/Jail Cost Estimates for Bills, Leaves Prison/Jail Population Statement Untouched for Initiatives

The Legislature’s Executive Board proposes House Bill 1003, a measure to immediately end the requirement that the Legislative Research Council prepare prison/jail cost estimates to any bill that may affect how many people South Dakota puts behind bars. This requirement popped into law as part of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s omnibus (read: multi-subject, thus illegal) criminal justice reform bill, 2013 Senate Bill 70. This requirement prevents any formal committee or floor votes on bills; sponsors, Watertown chums, and Legislative bosses House Speaker-Elect Hugh Bartels and Senate President Pro-Tempore Lee Schoenbeck are evidently tired of this bureaucracy gumming up their works.

Getting prison/jail cost estimates out of the way of swift lawmaking is apparently such an urgent need that HB 1003 includes an emergency clause, meaning that if Bartels and Schoenbeck can put this bill on the top of the agenda and railroad it through the mostly thumb-twiddling first week of Session, they could get eliminate this unnecessary delay from all of their crime-and-punishment-related bills of 2023.

Alas, what’s good for the elected goose is not good for the electoral gander. When Daugaard seasoned his 83-section criminal justice reform package with these prison/jail cost statements, he imposed that dilatory burden on citizen initiatives as well as Legislative bills. Subsequent anti-democracy legislation has  mutated that initiative requirement into a broader fiscal note that bogs down petition sponsors and circulators with cost and complication. That fiscal note, prescribed by SDCL 2-9-30, still includes an estimate of the fiscal impact of “any impact to the prison or county jail population.” House Bill 1003 forgets the integral application of Daugaard’s prison/jail cost estimate to all legislation, whether proposed in the Capitol or on the streets, and leaves the prison/jail cost evaluation requirement in place for citizen initiatives.

Bartels and Schoenbeck don’t mind when bureaucratic requirements get in the way of citizen initiatives. But when the same requirements slow down their Legislative proposals by a day or two, they want that bureaucracy out of their way and change the law to favor their Legislative process.


  1. Jake 2023-01-05 09:24

    These GOP sycophants, Bartels and Schoenbeck (like many other GOP in SD) are hell-bent to change the state’s motto from “Under God, the People Rule” to “Under God, the GOP Rules”!!!! This, their latest action only furthers their aim and intent. “Only they have the capacity for WISDOM-the people are just too dumb”!!!!

  2. All Mammal 2023-01-05 11:01

    SD is terra nullius as far as they’re concerned. If our votes don’t count and our initiatives don’t count; then they’re right. SoS plans on burning our Roe petitions in her wicked fire of righteousness. These earth-rapers and people-raper-protectors are white and entitled. We need to wake them up and remind them they serve us.

  3. P. Aitch 2023-01-05 14:35

    What a slimy deal for “You the People”.

  4. grudznick 2023-01-05 17:19

    You all must admit, the people are pretty dumb.

  5. All Mammal 2023-01-05 19:27

    The people sure do reflect their leadership. I would also admit that the people reflect the elder generations that came before and showed the people how to live.

    It can’t be that gratifying to make a big mess just to criticize the ones who show up in the middle of your pigsty. Scoff at how they react. “Hehehe you dum dums don’t even know what that stuff is you’re trying to sweep up. Ha! I soiled that so badly, you need to hose it off, duh. You missed a spot!”

    Or the people could prosper in harmony and you could feel so proud they learned what
    •you• showed them…

  6. John 2023-01-10 06:26

    The prosecutorial-prison-legislative industrial complex is jumping for joy. The elimination of jail/prison cost estimates in legislative bills is one less impediment on the growth of jails/prisons and incarceration.
    It’s not surprising that it’s the “boomer” thing to do — not inquire about the effects of ones’ actions. Boomers like Schoenbeck are not doing South Dakota any favors by eliminating the legislative jail/prison estimates.

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