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Lawmaker deadlines loom in South Dakota
Crossover Day marks busy week in the state Legislature, but leaders say this year’s workload is manageable
Don’t expect a black drape over the clock in the state House Wednesday night.
That’s Crossover Day at the state Capitol, which comes each February and marks the last day for still-alive legislation to advance out of the House or Senate before heading to the other chamber. And in years when the workload has kept lawmakers at their desks past midnight, the larger chamber will cover the clock so as not to be aware Crossover Day has passed.
But House leaders are optimistic they’ll avoid that pageantry this year and instead wrap up their Crossover Day work in time to get at least a late dinner.
House Majority Leader Will Mortenson told The Dakota Scout Monday he hopes his members can get through the dozens of remaining House bills “before dark” on Crossover Day, a goal he’s had since being elected by his House GOP caucus last fall.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some long days ahead for legislators as they convene for the final three weeks of the Legislative session.
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A precursor to Crossover Day, Tuesday is the final day committees have to advance legislation to the floor of the chamber in which it originated. That means House bills, to have a shot at passage, need to advance out of House committees Tuesday and Senate bills out of Senate committees.
That deadline has a host of committees with jam-packed agendas Tuesday that will likely have at least some of them working both in the morning and again in the afternoon after the day’s Senate and House floor sessions.
Busiest of them all this week: The Joint Committee on Appropriations, though the 18 Senators and Representatives who serve on the budget-setting panel have a bit more time to get through the special spending bills still sitting on their desks.
Legislative rules allow special spending bills to be exempted from the typical timelines for bill passage. Instead, appropriators have until Friday to make final recommendations on big spending bills. There are 46 left to get through, including $110 million for prisons in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, $6 million for a military heritage museum, $13 million for the Sanford Underground Research Facility in the Black Hills and a trio of tax cut proposals.
While the number is daunting, preparatory work by appropriators to this point in the session makes getting through those 46 bills much more manageable.
“We’ve already taken testimony on almost all of them but deferred action,” Rep. Tony Venhuizen said. “So it should move faster than normal bill hearings.”