2018-03-08 / Voices

A Strong Finish For SD Legislature


Hau Mitakuyapi, I am honored to represent the people of Bennett, Haakon, Jackson, Pennington and Oglala Lakota counties in our 93rd Legislature.

As the legislative session nears an end, the days begin to slow down. The Senate committees are now only hearing bills from the House that have already been debated, which makes discussion more fluid because the bills have been vetted with the proper language. There are also many bills that have already been deferred to the 41st day, so there are fewer to discuss.

Last week, I presented my final bill of the session, House Bill 1252, to the Senate Education committee. HB 1252 ensures all Native students have the right to wear eagle feathers and plumes at their high school graduations. This bill started in the House with Rep. Bordeaux’s leadership and passed with minimal opposition on the House side with a 63-2 vote. After an amendment defining eagle feathers and plumes, the bill passed unanimously through the education committee. This week we will see the bill on the floor of the Senate for a full vote.

Aside from presenting my own bills, there have been many important bills that passed through the committees I served on this session.

On the Senate floor, we heard SB 91, which has been grabbing some media attention recently. This bill authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to build a State Veterans Cemetery in Sioux Falls and has the full support of all of the Veterans groups in South Dakota.

We do have the Black Hills National Cemetery for the 72,000 veterans in South Dakota including the final resting place for my father, Francis L. Killer (US Army). However, 50,000 live east river, and 42,000 live within a 75-mile radius of Sioux Falls. This legislation is an important gesture to all of our state’s veterans; for this reason, my four colleagues and I on the military affairs committee voted in favor of this bill. The Senate collectively voted 35-0 in favor of this bill! Hopefully in the near future, South Dakotans east of the river won’t have to drive hours to see their loved ones.

I’m proud of the work my colleagues and I have put in to write, present, and pass legislation to help the people. South Dakota is a state of hard-workers, and they deserve a legislature that works just as hard for them. With one week left, we plan to finish strong and be as productive as we can to pass good legislation. As always, please feel free to reach me at 605-454-8105 or for any issues or concerns you may have. Pilamiya (Thank you) and it is an honor to represent our district 27.

Please feel free to reach me at 605-454-8105 or for any issues or concerns you may have.

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