First, South Dakota is already a Wilson-Fish state which means a private non-profit group determines (along with the US State Department in Washington) how many refugees are placed in the state and where in the world they come from. Elected officials have little say over the process.
In SD they are trying to get some control.
Here we learn that the state legislature passed, and the governor signed, a measure in to law that restricts South Dakota’s Department of Social Services (aka welfare agency) from entering agreements with feds and their agent in the state—Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota.
From the Tenth Amendment Center:
PIERRE, S.D. (March 17, 2017) – South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed a bill into law repealing the authority of the state Department of Social Services to enter into agreements related to the Refugee Act of 1980.
A coalition of 12 Republican representatives and senators sponsored Senate Bill 124 (SB124). Originally, the bill would have required the state legislature to approve refugee resettlement in the state, effectively giving it a veto over future resettlement. An amendment in the State Affairs Committee stripped away the approval requirement. But the law did strip the authority of the state Department of Social Services to unilaterally enter into agreements with the federal government for refugee resettlement by repealing SD Codified L § 28-1-47 (2015). That provision allowed the department to “enter into agreements with agencies of the United States for the purpose of participating in the Refugee Act of 1980.”
Increasing reporting requirements is important….
The new law also increases reporting requirements for private agencies in the state assisting with refugee resettlement. Agencies must report information including services provided, demographics and the number of refugees assisted from each country.
From a practical standpoint, SB124 won’t change much, other than the reporting requirements. Currently, Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota runs the state’s resettlement program. That won’t change under the new law and it won’t limit resettlement.
But the law does increase transparency and gives the state more control over future resettlement. It will also prevent the state from directly running resettlement programs without legislative action.
Time for South Dakota to take the leap! Join Tennessee. State legislators who have led this fight should call the Thomas More Law Center to see how to join.
See our South Dakota archive here. I traveled through the state last summer during my 6,000 mile trip to troubled refugee hotspots. Grassroots activists there are increasingly organized.
BTW, the last I heard the Somali charged with attempted murder (who jumped bail) is still missing.