Legislators recognized during final coffee Saturday

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HURON — Outgoing District 22 legislators Representative Roger Chase and Representative Lynn Schneider were both recognized and honored during their final legislative coffee Saturday at the commission room at City Hall.

Chase summed up his experience by thanking moderator Michael Held for moderating over the years and thanked the voters for supporting him over the years.

“Sometimes with term limits, you eliminates the bums and the duds,” Chase joked. “Whatever I’m classified as, we’ll just leave it at that.”

“I’ve been grateful to serve District 22 for these years,” Chase said, then turning his attention to his wife, daughter, and grandchildren. “There’s three generations of redheads in the back of the room that will find plenty of things for me to do in the future!”

Schneider echoed looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren. He also noted that he came to his role through the loss of his brother-in-law but is thankful for the experience he was able to have before choosing not to run again.

Senator David Wheeler opened proceedings, citing crossover day happening earlier in the week, which is the day when all bills that originate in one chamber need to be acted upon and transferred to the other chamber. He noted that the Senate had more work to do on crossover day than the House, which is a rare thing.

Representative Roger Chase joked with Wheeler that the House is under new leadership this year, and that new leadership has made expedition of the process a goal, which is why their work was notably more done on crossover day.

Chase also highlighted that House Bill 1065, which provides funding for the SHED facility on the South Dakota State Fairgrounds. He explained that it was passed by the joint appropriations committee.

Chase had a catch in his throat when discussing the State Fair remaining in Huron based on the recent support from the state and local community for the SHED and DEX projects that make the South Dakota State Fairgrounds a world-class fair location.

Schneider echoed his colleagues’ statements. He emphasized that the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Governor Kristi Noem both have been willing to work to aid the fair in recent years, something that hasn’t always been true of the department or the governor’s office in general.

The legislators were asked about House Bill 1162, the bill to move school board and municipal elections to November, arguing that not enough time for absentee voters is possible with April elections.

Sen. Wheeler addressed the question, focusing on the school election side, noting that a November election would be a really odd time to bring someone new into a school board office with the fiscal year for schools running from July 1 to June 30. He did note that there was some momentum within the legislature to tie primary elections to school and municipal elections, which could work within that timeline, but that there’s likely not enough support within the Senate to pass the bill as it reads.

The next topic revolved around Senate Bill 201, which lays out regulations for pipelines in the state, whether that be current proposed carbon pipelines or future pipelines. It also outlines what the counties and the state have control of within regulating a pipeline passing through an area.

All three legislators expressed a desire to ensure eminent domain was not overused but also that restrictions were not so steep as to push away potential development that could enhance and provide a future revenue road for the corn industry.

Rep. Chase and Rep. Schneider both intend to spend time hearing from testimony on the bill in committee next week before the bill likely has a vote on the floor of the House. Chase explained that the state needs to have something in place this year in order to move forward with potential income that pipelines could generate. He stated that federal regulations could take more than a decade, and by then multiple pipelines could pass by South Dakota, not just carbon.

Senate Bill 203 was discussed. The bill allows for conceal carry within a school with certain parameters. Sen. Wheeler spoke to the bill, stating that while he generally dislikes allowing additional weapons in school, but the required license and stated permission by the school as part of the process allowed him to vote for the bill.

Rep. Chase and Rep. Schneider were asked about their favorite moments from their time as legislators as a final question of the coffee. Chase discussed the committee and legislation that he chaired for infrastructure and workforce housing. He expressed that he really enjoyed working with Schneider and Wheeler on that committee.

Schneider opened by reminding that Chase had to go to bat for that legislation for multiple years to finally get it through, advocating and lobbying his fellow legislators to get the bill passed and then eventually passed by the Governor.

Schneider focused his best memory on the work that was done to fund the DEX, and not just once but then again in 2023 when the building needed more funding to finish construction.