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Democratic Leadership Column from Troy Heinert – Week 3

Updated: Apr 22

PIERRE, SD (January 27, 2022) – Greetings from Pierre, I hope this message finds you and your family well! We have just completed week three of this year’s 97th Legislative Session. There have been numerous bills introduced into both chambers, ramping up the pace of this session. Many of the bills that have been introduced seek to divide our state rather than bring it together.

I have introduced SB 112, an act to transfer the Office of Indian Education to the Department of Education. After the debacle of the implementation of new social study standards that were rejected at the 11th hour by Governor Noem, it is evident that there is a disconnect between the office of Indian Education, the Department of Education, and the parents and educators who wish to seek a better outcome for students. The Office of Indian Education deserves to be surrounded by educational professionals and does not belong within the Department of Tribal Relations.

Senate Bill 46 was heard in the House State Affairs committee and passed on a 11-2 margin. This hurtful bill targeted at our state’s transgender community shows no confidence in the South Dakota High School Activities Associations (SDHSAA) and its policy. During committee testimony, Governor Noem’s Chief of Staff Mark Miller gave testimony akinning transgender women to terrorism. This comment is completely uncalled for and indicative to the type of rhetoric coming from the Governor’s office. SDHSAA has had its policy for nearly a decade that all school districts in South Dakota are following, and it has proven to be effective for our state. The only time this really seems to be an issue is during the legislative session and within these halls.

Medical marijuana legislation has been heard extensively on the Senate Floor. There are numerous bills on the subject, many of which do not follow the will of the voters. The voters passed IM 26 and Amendment A in 2020, and as a legislature we should accept those results. Over the course of this year, myself and fellow Democrats are working to ensure that the voters are heard. South Dakota should have an efficient, workable, and patient-centered medical marijuana program.

I appreciate the continued trust you have shown in my Democratic colleagues and I to represent you in Pierre. You are invited to our caucus meetings which have always been open to the public; we meet an hour prior to session. Your voice matters to us, and we believe that together, we can create a South Dakota that works for all of us.

Please contact me or any of my Democratic colleagues with your questions or concerns about the current session. My email is

Senate Minority Leader Troy Heinert

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