Democratic Leadership Column: Wide Range of Legislation


January 28, 2024

Rep. Oren Lesmeister (District 28A)

House Minority Leader

This past week was an emotional roller coaster for the House of Representatives. We discussed a wide range of bills from autonomous vehicles to antisemitism. HB 1076 would create a new definition of antisemitism. Although most everyone agreed to the purpose behind the bill, a lot of us thought that it should have included all marginalized people.

We saw many bills being dropped late this week with the deadline of unlimited bills on Thursday. Now we will really know how many bills there will be this year. We are seeing even more bills targeting social issues. A few have already been defeated, but Republicans just keep bringing them. You can tell it is an election year because it seems that is when more of these types of bills are introduced. However, there has been bipartisan support to defeat these pieces of legislation.

We are about to start our only five-day week, meaning there will be a huge amount of vehicle bills in State Affairs Committees. If the bills have no body to them at the time of their hearing, they will likely be tabled. Some bills we will hear. Rep. Kadyn Wittman introduced a proposal to increase the minimum age for marriage to 18. Rep. Eric Emery is also bringing HB 1160 to address tribal tax agreements. There are also bills to deal with voter registration and residency requirements. This would help some members that have huge mailbox voters in their districts, but I do believe it will not make it through.

The pipeline bills are starting to move into committees along with the landowner rights legislation. These will be some very emotional and hard bills for a lot of members to vote on. We will have to listen to a lot of testimony to help make those decisions. I am not against carbon capture or a carbon pipeline, but still don’t believe in broad sweeping eminent domain for private gain. We need to make sure we are not setting precedent here.

Appropriations Committees are starting to wind up their hearings from all the different departments and will soon start the process of developing a budget based on revenue and what the departments are asking for next year.

With the five days to work and most of the bill drafts out now, we will be able to really get some work done this next week

Thank you,

House Minority Leader

Oren Lesmeister

For questions, you may contact Dan Ahlers at or contact the state party office by phone at 605-271-5405 or 605-940-3071.

Paid for by the South Dakota Democratic Party |