The 2023 South Dakota legislative session has been a busy one, although the number of bills decreased from 2022. During the session last year, the legislature considered a total of 553 bills; this year, only 450 bills were filed. On behalf of AIA South Dakota, I review all of those bills and forward any items that seem to impact major areas of interest. In particular, AIA takes an interest in bills dealing with architecture, building codes and standards, professional licensure, and public contracts. The following bills are of most interest to AIA South Dakota.
- HB 1203: This bill essentially requires a licensing board to use the new statutes any time it would “deny, diminish, limit, suspend, revoke, refuse to renew, or otherwise withhold a state recognition because of a criminal conviction or question of character.” In other words, the new laws would only apply to licensure proceedings where the person’s criminal record or character are at issue. Concerns were raised with the ambiguity of the phrase “question of character,” but the bill overall focuses most heavily on criminal record. If the criminal record is at issue, the person can only be targeted if the record “relates to the duties and responsibilities of the occupation.” Moreover, any adverse decision must be supported by “clear and convincing evidence,” with ambiguities resolved in favor of the person. The bill seems to create more administrative burdens on licensing boards, but the spirit behind the bill seems to be to give people a second chance after a criminal conviction. On February 15, the prime sponsor of the bill asked the House Commerce Committee to table the legislation, defeating the bill for this year.
- SB 76: Coming from Governor Noem, this bill would expand the provisions of Chapter 36-1D to all professions and occupations. That Chapter, enacted in 2021, creates a process for licensure by endorsement. While the statutes were intended to make it easier to get licensed in this state, the law appears to leave the Board of Technical Professions as the final arbiter of licensure standards. In particular: (i) the Board is only required to issue the license if the licensure requirements in the originating state are “substantially equivalent to or exceed” South Dakota licensure standards; and (ii) the Board will adopt methods by which each out-of-state applicant must demonstrate competence in architecture. The overall intent of Chapter 36-1D is to make it easier for people licensed in other states to get licensed in South Dakota. Concerns were raised because the key language of the statutes is somewhat ambiguous. AIA South Dakota has reviewed the bill and existing endorsement statutes and concluded the organization will be neutral based on the language quoted above. SB 76 passed the full Senate 33-1 on February 13, and will be heard by the House Commerce Committee on February 22.
If you are aware of any other bills of potential interest, or have questions, please contact Jeff Nelson, AIA SD President-Elect and Advocacy Chair, Angela Lammers, AIA SD Executive Director, or a board member for AIA South Dakota.
Content provided by AIA South Dakota Lobbyist, Justin Smith, Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith P.C.
AIA South Dakota is the professional non-profit membership association of architects, future architects, and partners in the building and design industries, and the state chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) AIA South Dakota advances the mission that design matters in every South Dakota community.