This legislative session, the South Dakota Senate will vote on the Governor’s proposed Senate Bill 24 which will extend the effective date of the current law defining how non-meandering waters may be used.
Last June, a special session of the Legislature was called to create legislation intended to protect the rights of landowners while recognizing the interests of recreationalists. The legislation will sunset June 30, 2018, of this year. Senate Bill 24 will extend the sunset to June 30, 2021.
The South Dakota Soybean Association (SDSA) supports this bill. Farmers, sportsmen and environmentalists all have a great deal in common, and we all have an appreciation for the value of our natural resources. Extending the sunset period will allow the plan to be developed and give all parties time to evaluate how the current compromise is working.
Opponents of the bill believe that 100% of non-meandering waters should be open to the public. In short, if a significant body of water collects and stays on private property, opponents believe they should have full access to that private property.
This discussion is much more than just a recreational issue. It is a private property rights issue. Every property owner, whether rural or urban, should be very concerned with this issue because it has the potential to limit property rights. If control of private property can be removed for recreational purposes, why not for other purposes that benefit special interests?
Please contact your state senators, and respectfully ask them to support Senate Bill 24 without any new amendments on Monday. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions in regards to Senate Bill 24.
Jerry Schmitz, SDSA President and farmer from Vermillion
This blog post is brought to you by the South Dakota Soybean Association.