Newly re-elected State Legislators look ahead to 2023 session
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Midterm elections are now over, and pending any recounts, the legislative body for South Dakota’s 2023 session is set.
Several local legislators are gearing up for the 38-day session, including State Senator Helene Duhamel and State Representative Trish Ladner – incumbents who both won re-election.
Abortion is likely to be a major issue this legislative session. Ladner says she’s going to be looking into legislation that would not criminalize women for getting a D&C (dilation and curettage) if a fetus dies naturally in the womb.
“That should be allowed, and there should be some kind of coding that allows that and not classify it as an abortion. I would definitely be in favor of that,” Ladner said. “The others I’m not sure of yet, you know, like rape or incest, and I really have to think about that.”
Ladner says abortion is a state issue and that it should never have been in the federal government’s hands to begin with.
Both Duhamel and Ladner say the expressed intentions to lower property tax and eliminate the grocery tax are important, but it’s likely to be one or the other.
“I don’t know how we can afford both,” Ladner said. “I mean, maybe we can make the argument the property taxes are more vital to people than, you know, a tax on their banana or no tax on their banana.”
Balancing the budget – and knowing federal COVID funds won’t be renewed – is something Duhamel says will be a focal point this session.
“That’s the fear; we have to, you know, right-sides and deal with the revenues that we actually generate locally,” Duhamel said. “So we have to put on our long-distance glasses and keep an eye on that.”
The mood overall? Happy. Duhamel and Ladner both say they’re eager to get to work.
“When you run for office every other year, you stop all of the work you’re doing for the legislature and you focus on a campaign,” Duhamel said. “We have a lot of work to do.”
Ladner and Duhamel both tell NewsCenter1 that they will run to serve as Majority Whip in their respective chambers this legislative session. Duhamel previously served as a Senate Majority Whip in the 2021-2022 legislative session.
The 2023 legislative session starts on Tuesday, January 10.