PIERRE | The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee spent more than an hour Thursday discussing an amendment that has yet to be presented in its final form.
On the committee’s agenda was HB1058, an act to legalize industrial hemp. What the committee discussed was a preliminary version of a 16-section amendment that had yet to be submitted to the Legislative Research Council or placed on the LRC website.
“It’s a little awkward to ask people to comment on an amendment they haven’t seen yet,” said Rep. Thomas Brunner, R-Nisland.
Brunner, the committee chairman, said that he hoped to have the bill and its amendment on the agenda when the committee meets again on Tuesday.
The amendment took one of HB1058’s sponsors by surprise.
“I wasn’t expecting a 16-page amendment,” said Rep. Oren Lesmeister, D-Parade. “It’s a very large amendment.”
Lesmeister said the amendment, while large, conforms to the intent of the original bill.
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“I really don’t see this as a bad amendment at all,” he said.
The amendment offers changes from the original bill in the areas of licensing, criminal background checks, planting documents, inspections, fees, testing, transportation, the smoking of hemp products and a report on hemp’s influence on drug arrests from the attorney general.