Three days in – how is Pierre?

As with all sessions, things in Pierre have started slow. People getting reoriented, reacquainted, and for those lucky seven legislators nominated by the Governor, getting their feet into the legislative process for the first time.

We’ve been lucky to have a couple members out here this week talking to legislators about the distributed generation bill, and doing an incredibly good job. There have been moments of discouragement, of course; legislators immediately assume we’re talking about net metering, and when citizens are up against around 15-20 paid lobbyists for the other side, it is a bit of an uphill battle. But we’re making progress.

Support for our raw milk producers continues to be immense. In the Governor’s State of the State address, the most emphatic statement he made (with emphasis) was, “I don’t like over-regulation.” We intend to take him up on that and keep him to his word, and legislators seem to be supportive of going back to a sensible level of regulation for raw milk producers who are selling directly to consumers.

There have been mumblings about uranium, of course, and I think it is an issue people are wary of, understandably. But it is also clear legislators are far more understanding of what the real situation is on the ground, thanks to significant work by our members over the last year. We are, as always, hopeful we’ll be able to protect our water and the Black Hills.

There are some other interesting things coming to the table about water management, ag land taxation, and of course the perennial issue of non-meandered waters. We’ll keep you posted on all these issues as they come up, and don’t forget our lobby days are next week Wednesday and Thursday – so come out to Pierre and meet your legislators! Send us an email if you’re interested – sabrina @ dakotarural . org.

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