Next week we will pass the halfway point for the 2022 Session. With the bill introduction deadline last Thursday, legislators have introduced a total of 551 bills in the 2022 Session. This is an increase of 73 over last year, and the highest since 1998 when 572 bills were introduced. For further comparison, the lowest number of bills ever introduced was in 2017 when 394 bills were introduced, and the highest number was in 1957 when 929 bills were introduced.
Typically, about half the bills introduced will eventually become law. The highest percentage of bills ever enacted in a single session occurred in 1947 when 73 percent of that year’s bills were enacted. The lowest percentage of bills ever enacted in a single session occurred in 1897 when only 18.6 percent of the bills were enacted.
Every bill must pass at least five hurdles before it becomes law: committee hearing in the chamber of origin, floor vote, committee hearing in the opposite chamber, second floor vote, and governor’s signature. Most of the bills that do not pass never make it beyond their first committee hearing. Legislative rules allow the prime sponsor of a bill to withdraw a bill prior to the first committee hearing. Last year 18 bills were withdrawn; so far this year nine bills have been withdrawn.
Looking ahead at our work schedule, there are a few key dates which will govern our work. Next Tuesday, February 15, the Joint Committee on Appropriations must select the general fund revenue targets for the current and next fiscal years. Those targets will form the basis for building the state’s budget.
The following Wednesday, February 23, is called “crossover” day. It is the last day for bills to pass the house of origin and cross over to the other chamber. Monday, March 7, is the final day for a bill to pass both houses. The next three days are reserved for conference committees to meet and resolve any differences between the House and Senate versions of a bill. The Legislature will meet on Monday, March 28 to consider any bills vetoed by the Governor.
You can find the status of any bill by going to the Legislative Research Council website at sdlegislature.gov.