The Interim Rules Committee met on July 8 with all members present.
• The Department of Game, Fish & Parks brought forth nine proposed rule changes.
Administrative rules are the implementation of statutes that are passed by the Legislature and/or changes to rules for which the departments have authority. In the passage of statutes, the Legislature, in most cases, delegates the authority for the rule-making process to the departments. It is the Interim Rules Committee that approves the process for the rules proposed and allows them to go into effect.
In Tuesday’s meeting, the GF&P proposed to change the name of lake and fishing access areas to water access areas in three proposed rule sections. Though this seems like a minimal change, it was pointed out that there was no definition for this term in statute and, therefore, the department did not have the authority under statute to make this change. The department indicated that, at the last GF&P meeting, they were working on changing the definition to bring forth to the Interim Rules Committee. Not having the statutory authority, the committee reverted the rule to a prior step, which means the rule must go back to the department and the process restarted for the change of name of water access and a definition to be included.
The rules were areas of exception for restrictions on use or possession of firearms on lake and fishing access areas and game production areas; exceptions for nontoxic shot areas for target shooting; and restrictions on use or possession of centerfire rifles on lake and fishing access areas and game production. There is no change in the rules as they currently stand. It is the definition that needs to be included.
Air guns and crossbows were added to the list of weapons that cannot be discharged across the George S. Mickelson right-of-way.
The impact is on the use of certain weapons in the Newton Hills State Park, La Framboise Island Nature Areas and Farm Is Island Recreation area. It allows for the use of air guns in the state park system if it meets the muzzle velocity requirements laid out in administrative rules; no more than 500 any deer access permits may be issued to residents and no more than 125 any deer access permits may be issued to nonresidents for unit 35L described in 41:06:20:02.
The latter section was a proposed rule change for nonresident archery deer hunting season restrictions. A nonresident may not hunt deer on private lands leased for public access by the department or public lands prior to Oct. 1. A license obtained by a nonresident on or after the first day of August 2019 is valid only on private lands not leased for public access by the department through Jan. 1, 2020. A license obtained by a nonresident on or after April 1, 2020, and every year thereafter is valid only on private lands not leased for public access by the department.
There is concern about nonresident archery licensees accessing public lands. The department indicated that South Dakota, with its early archery deer season for nonresidents, does have implications on deer numbers for residents and is attempting to create more opportunity for the resident.
I had received a phone call from a rancher concerned that this change could have an impact on private land owners that lease land to the state for hunting. It was his perception that their business, which consists of providing lodging and food for nonresidents on their land, would be impacted by this change. He even suggested that an unintended consequence could be not continuing the lease so that they could continue with their business to attract out-of-state hunters and not allow public access.
I questioned the department about this concern. The response was that there had been no communication from land owners with leases with the department about this issue. I attempted to revert to a prior step so that those land owners could have opportunity to provide input and the department consider all options. I was not supported on that motion and it failed.
The final proposed rule was to alter the deadline for an organization to apply for the opportunity to auction a Bighorn Sheep tag. The rationale for the change was to give the department more flexibility in seeking more applications for the auction opportunity. The auction was put in place several years ago at the request of the Big Horn Sheep group to generate dollars to support maintenance and growth in the herd. With this change, there is anticipation that there will be more interest in the auction and more dollars generated. This will allow the department to continue with a consistent flow of dollars to the Bighorn Sheep project and have additional dollars go to other animal production in the state.
In the end the process was complete for all the above rules.
• The Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners amended rules to clarify the limitation of attempts of an exam for medical license applicants. It was not clear in rules the number of times the written component of the exam could be taken. It was proposed to be three times.
The process was approved to be complete.
• The Department of Health proposed rules to minimize and clarify the requirements pertaining to the redistribution of facility nursing home beds. The distribution is now statewide rather than restricted to Sioux Falls and Rapid City.
A criteria that a new or existing facility shall accept residents with complex medical conditions requiring specialized equipment or increased staff resources, or both was eliminated. Also included was a change that any proposal for a change in adding beds would be required to include a facility’s audited financial statements. Rather. it would be upon request by the department. This did generate some discussion with the closing of facilities this past year due to financial stability. The department assured us that financial statements would be considered in any requests.
The process was approved to be complete.
• The Department of Education amended rules to update the language to reflect industry standards; correct reference to national program standards where applicable; and align terminology and requirements with educator certification rules updated.
In short, the rules updated what the teacher preparation curriculum would be for K-12 for the schools that prepare teachers. The rules specified birth through third grade and then moved to grades 5-12. Sen. Kennedy questioned about the presence of fourth grade since not identified directly. The department responded that grade was included in the rules for K-12.
The department indicated they had been working on these changes over the past two years and were now presenting to update. It was a very large packet of many changes, and the committee questioned the engagement with higher education as they are implementing the updates through their curriculums. In addition, question was raised is this duplication of what the universities/colleges need to meet for accreditation as well as meeting state certification. The department responded that this was not and acknowledged accreditation was considered in the certification process. The process was complete though the committee was concerned about the collaboration process with higher education.
• The Department of Revenue brought forth changes in areas of alcohol regulation resulting for statute change during the session. The changes updated definitions; updated the timeline and processes for alcohol wholesale price filings; provided enhanced notice to retailers and clarified requirements for wholesalers for reported delinquencies and allowed alcohol retailers to use loyalty and rewards programs. Lobbyists from the industry testified in support of the changes.
The rule process was found to be complete.
• The Division of Unemployment Insurance amended rules to change the name of the unemployment insurance program to the reemployment assistance program because of the passage of House Bill 1035 this past session. The rule process was found to be complete.
• The South Dakota Gaming Commission amended rules to allow accommodations for players with documented medical impediments to assist them in participating in games, including poker and house-banked poker, into existing drop procedures, and rules to implement and monitor house-banked poker games. There were no opponents to the proposed change and the rule process was found to be complete.
The GF&P were meeting in Pierre for their two-day meeting. I attended for a period to learn of their process and citizen attendance.
Each of our packets from the department included all the emails the department receives on their proposed rule changes. It was my observation that social media has taken the lead in expressing citizen input on proposed rules. For that portion of the meeting, only one citizen was in attendance and was expressing concerns about the trapping rules. Social media saves travel, time and costs for the citizens but at the same time, it does not allow for questions and clarifications on the concerns being expressed.
The same comment is made about the input to the Interim Rules Committee on proposed rule changes. A direct communication can many times ferret out what the issue is and what may be a solution. The real question is, how important is the issue to the constituent and how can the engagement be respectful and to the point?
The next Interim Rules Committee is Aug. 12. Please check the LRC website for the agenda. If you have questions or concerns, please contact me: jean.Hunhoff@sdlegislature.gov or call 660-5619.