HOME STRETCH: SD legislators honing in on sales tax, recreational marijuana bills

With about two weeks left to go in the legislative session, lawmakers are focused on bills that could lower sales tax and legalize recreational marijuana.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The clock is ticking for legislators as they push to get their bills across the finish line in Pierre over the next couple weeks.

With Crossover Day in the rearview mirror, lawmakers are now focused on the last few bills that could carry out through the legislative session.

The first bill, Senate Bill 3, would legalize recreational marijuana. That bill passed the senate on Wednesday and now heads to the House of Representatives.

While some legislators say that it will be interesting to see how the vote plays out in the house, others say that they’re going to vote for the bill, mainly due to how they feel South Dakota voters voiced their support in November of 2020.

“I will listen to the debate, but quite frankly I hope it passes and we can support what 54% of the South Dakota decided was important to them,” said State Representative Linda Duba, of District 15.

Also moving to the opposing chamber, Senate Bill 175, which would allocate some $2.5 million in state funds for a shooting facility in Meade County.

Landowners nearby have opposed the range for numerous reasons including safety, noise and an increase in traffic.

A similar bill was killed earlier in the session in a House committee, but some legislators feel that they must look at the new bill with open eyes before coming to a decision.

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“It’s premature for us to to just say, well, ‘here’s how, how, how it is now is going to be how it is in the house’,” said State Representative Chris Johnson of District 32. “We’re going to hear new information in the house as well, but I think the evolutionary pathway is going to be interesting to see how it plays out, but I’m, I’m hopeful that we can get it pushed through.”

Also on the senate’s agenda is House Bill 1247 that would cut half a percent off sales tax in the state. Some lawmakers argue that based on recent state revenue projections, now is the time to lower the tax.

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Other legislators argue for a conservative approach and to not face a situation where the state could be forced to increase taxes or have budget cuts in the future.

“It’s going to be a significant change in revenue and we need to be conservative, but we also need to be smart,” said State Senator Gary Cammack of District 29.

The next major step for bills in the legislature comes Monday, where bills with a dollar sign attached must be approved by appropriator

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