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Troy Heinert of District 26 Reporting from Pierre



Greetings friends, neighbors, fellow tribal members, and especially to the District 26 constituents. In last week’s column I wrote about the journey of HB 1069, an Act to repeal and revise certain provisions related to campaign finance and to declare an emergency. Though our effort was valiant and and the public support was overwhelmingly on our side, we were unable to stop the repeal of Initiated Measure 22 that you, the voters, recently passed. I cannot thank you enough for the calls, letters, and emails I had received demanding that your voice be heard and that your vote be counted.

Alas, this is not the time to “throw our sucker in the dirt” and go home. We must use the rest of this year’s Session to advance quality legislation that meets your desire for an ethics commission, campaign finance reform, and lobbyist gift limits. These issues are far too important to leave on the table. I will do all I can to ensure that this Legislature keeps its promise to you! I will also continue my vocal opposition to legislation that seeks to make the process of placing initiated measures, referred laws, and constitutional amendments harder to place on the ballot by South Dakota citizens. This is a time honored tradition for the average South Dakotan to be able to propose and have a direct effect on the laws of our state without having to become a member of the Legislature.

Committee work has been extremely busy with many pieces of legislation starting their journey to become law. I thoroughly enjoy committee work as this is where ideas and questions can be fleshed out with proponents and opponents rather than on the Senate Floor without that access. I have been fortunate enough to get a few of my bills through the committee process and off the Senate Floor. In conjunction with Secretary Steve Emery and the State/Tribal Relations Department, we have proposed two bills this year.

Senate Bill 73, an Act to provide a special tribal veteran license plate for certain motor vehicles. This bill would allow an Honorably Discharged State Citizen Tribal Member Veteran the ability to purchase a license plate designating their Tribal Affiliation and their military service. SB 73 has passed the Senate and will be heard in the House in the coming days. Senate Bill 74, an Act to exempt the elected members of the governing board of any federally recognized Indian Tribe from the requirement to register as lobbyists. Current state law allows for elected members of any unit of local government (city, county, and municipality) to provide testimony in their official capacity without registering as a lobbyist and paying the fee for such. It is only fitting that we afford this same opportunity to elected Tribal officials as their role in governance is equally important. SB 74 has passed the Senate State Affairs Committee and will be heard on the Senate Floor this week. Secretary Emery and others have provided excellent testimony on these bills and I look forward their favorable consideration.

Many communities in District 26 will be hosting Cracker Barrels in the coming days. I encourage you to join us at any of the following locations:

• White River on 2/09/17, 6:00 p.m., at the Museum

• Kimball on 2/11/17, 9:00 a.m., at the Fire Hall

• Chamberlain on 2/11/17, 1:00 p.m., at the Community Center

• Presho TBD

• Murdo, TBD

I really enjoy the interaction with you all at these events, it is an excellent time to ask your elected officials the tough questions and get their position on upcoming legislation. Please join us at any location or reach out to me to set up one in your area. I had the honor of attending the South Dakota National Guard Dining Out in Pierre on Feb. 2, 2017. What an awesome event for the members of the South Dakota National Guard and their families! I was pleasantly surprised to learn that District 26’s own Charles and Tanya Totten were selected as the Adjutant General’s Family Award recipients. The Totten family ranches north of Chamberlain and their commitment to the soldiers of the South Dakota National Guard is second to none! Charles was raised in rural Mellette Co. near Norris. I have always said the best of South Dakota is in District 26 (though I may be a little biased in my assessment) and I am very proud to represent our area for you. Congratulations Totten family, you are truly deserving of this accolade!

Please join me at any of the upcoming Cracker Barrels in your community. I truly enjoy working for you, and I thank you for this responsibility. I look forward to hearing from you. I can be reached by phone at 605-319-6570 or email at

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