PIERRE, S.D. - Lawmakers in Pierre are struggling to move a glut of bills out of committee, and time is beginning to run short.
House Speaker Steven Haugaard told the South Dakota Broadcasters Association that it’s “time to pick up the pace” as he left the floor at the close of business Wednesday.
Haugaard isn’t alone in that assessment. Lawmakers began pulling their own bills from committee Tuesday and Wednesday, some only days after having been filed.
It’s not what’s ‘in’ some of the bills that’s slowing things down, its what some bills don’t have – any language.
They’re known as ‘placeholder’ bills and are most often used by leadership to buy some time for important matters still brewing as deadlines near. A typical year will see less than a dozen such bills.
But 2019 is anything but typical; more than 40 placeholder bills had been submitted by the end of last week. Those bills began to hit committees in both chambers this week with many more still to come.
‘We’ve got to get things moving out of committees if we’re going to avoid a mess at the end,” said Haugaard.
Wednesday is Legislative Day 18 in Pierre. Lawmakers hit the half way point of this year’s calendar on Friday.