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Following Noem Testimony, Senate State Affairs Committee Strongly Supports SB 157

For Immediate Release

February 19, 2020

Contact: Kristin Wileman

Following Noem Testimony, Senate State Affairs Committee Strongly Supports SB 157 

PIERRE, S.D. - Governor Kristi Noem today testified before the Senate State Affairs Committee in support of legislation that will ensure economic progress is possible for all of South Dakota’s communities (SB 157). This was the first time a governor has testified before a committee in more than a decade.


Noem's Testimony (as prepared for delivery):

“Good morning. Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, and all those listening here today, my name is Kristi Noem and I’m the Governor of South Dakota. I’m here today to ask you to support legislation that will ensure economic progress is possible for all our communities long into the future – SB 157.

“Everyone here knows that South Dakota is the best state in the nation to do business. Our low taxes, smart regulations, and strong work ethic make us unique, but the world isn’t static. If we’re going to keep our state competitive, we must keep things fair, open, and honest.

“As I outlined in my State of the State address, my team and I are aggressively pushing the message that South Dakota is open for business. We are helping businesses expand and constantly looking for ways to attract new industries and businesses to the state. This is critical if we want to keep our kids here – at home – rather than sending them somewhere else to build their careers, families, and lives.

“We must fix the issues that are holding back progress. One of those problems is the conditional use permitting process. For those who may not know, at times this process is unnecessarily difficult; it takes a lot of time; and it often gets hijacked by a vocal few. This uncertainty is unfair to everyone involved.

“SB 157 is my proposal to create a fairer, more predictable process for businesses and families who want to create or expand their operations in South Dakota. 

“This legislation protects local control by putting decisions in the hands of a majority, not a vocal few. It provides certainty to what can be a very unpredictable process. And, it moves many decisions out of the court system and back into the hands of local residents.

“SB 157 does all of this without changing any environmental standards the state or counties must follow; without making changes to current or future zoning standards established by a county; and without changing public input or notice for conditional use permits. In just a few minutes, the committee will hear from business leaders, county commissioners, farmers and ranchers, bankers, energy developers, and many more.

“These are all people we’ve worked very closely with to develop this legislation. They have seen firsthand how broken this process can be and how important it is that we fix it.

“I will leave you with this thought. 

“I invite you to imagine a South Dakota where grandparents aren’t saying goodbye to their grandkids. Instead, the next generation is staying here – at home – because all our communities are growing and thriving.

“Please vote yes on SB 157. Thank you.”


Senate Bill 157 has received widespread support from county commissioners, the agriculture community, energy companies, and groups including:

  • Association of General Contractors
  • Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce
  • East River Electric
  • Farm Credit Services of America
  • NextEra Energy Resources
  • Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce
  • South Dakota Association of Cooperatives
  • South Dakota Association of County Commissioners
  • South Dakota Bankers Association
  • South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association
  • South Dakota Chamber of Commerce
  • South Dakota Corn
  • South Dakota Dairy Producers
  • South Dakota Electric Utility Companies
  • South Dakota Ethanol Producers
  • South Dakota Farm Bureau
  • South Dakota Pork Producers
  • South Dakota Poultry Industries Association
  • South Dakota Retailers Association
  • South Dakota Rural Electric Cooperatives
  • South Dakota Soybean Association
  • South Dakota Wind Energy Association

Following Noem’s testimony, the committee passed SB 157 with a 6-3 vote.