Legislative Committee Passes Onerous Raw Milk Rules

Legislators Promise to Petition for a Delay of Implementation

Yesterday, the South Dakota Legislative Rules Review Committee passed the South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s raw milk rules, stating the Department’s process was “procedurally complete,” despite a record number of testimony against the rules.

Committee Chairman Rep. Timothy Johns, R – Lead, prefaced the vote with a statement about how people in South Dakota want raw milk and clearly do not want these rules. He went onto say, however, that the Committee’s job is not to approve the content or purpose of the rules, but merely to determine whether or not proper procedures had been followed in the rulemaking process.

Chairman Rep. Johns said he received a foot high stack of emails opposing the rules.

Senator Phil Jensen, R – Rapid City, testified at the hearing that he would petition for a delay of implementation if the rules passed. The Senator was joined by Representative Scott Craig, R – Rapid City, who also testified against the rules, noting his wife is a cancer patient whose doctors have told her to drink raw milk.

Gena Parkhurst, local food freedom advocate and Dakota Rural Action member, said of the hearing, “As the legislators voted, I sensed hesitation on their part. It seemed to me that the legislators had heard the arguments of the opponents and felt that if the vote was about the rules themselves, they would’ve voted them down. The legislators were ham-strung since they are required to base their vote on whether or not a Department has followed proper rulemaking procedures. Raw milk advocates will seek a delay in these rules.”

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