Democratic Leadership Column from Jamie Smith – Week 4 

PIERRE, SD (January 2, 2022) – Greetings from Pierre! It is now the third week of the legislative session where the pace is keeping everyone busy. This year, the body has introduced more bills by the fourth week of session than all of 2021. This is partially due to medical marijuana legislation but shows the level of work that must be done. Of course, we are not immune to the current pandemic. While cases in the Capitol have slowed down, South Dakota continues to struggle with Covid. I urge everyone to get vaccinated and boosted. We look out for our neighbors. 

As you may have heard, the rumors are true, I am running for Governor of South Dakota. First and foremost – I want to reaffirm you that this campaign will not distract me from being a Representative. We still have work to do here in Pierre. It was on Tuesday earlier this week where I announced my campaign to the public where we will focus on education, respecting the will of the voters, and rebuilding the state’s relationship with our Nine Tribes. I look forward to what we can accomplish. 

This week we heard bills I found troubling involving transgender persons. The first takes away the right for transgender girls to play in sports. The second bill is a bathroom ban, which is a nonissue that continues to come back. These bills are a distraction from true South Dakota problems and should be handled at the local level. We should be focusing on issues for all South Dakotans instead of alienating a vulnerable group in our state. 

Cannabis legislation has also occupied our time. We defeated two harmful bills: a ban on edibles and the prohibition of medical marijuana cultivation. These two bills directly contradict the will of the voters, and I am glad to see them fail. We must follow the will of the people and implement our cannabis laws. 

Democrats are here to work for you and want to hear from you! Please contact us to share your questions or concerns about the current session. Our caucus meetings have always been open to the public each day, an hour before floor session. Your voice matters to us, and we believe that together, we can create a South Dakota that works for all of us.