House committee gets preview of big changes sought on alcohol – Watertown Public Opinion

PIERRE – The governor and some lawmakers want to rewrite many South Dakota laws on making, distributing and selling liquor, beer, wine and other alcohol and expand some too.

The best part: They want it done before the legislative session ends March 26.

It’s going to be a big fight that comes as Gov. Dennis Daugaard enters his final year.

Daugaard set things brewing months ago not long after the 2017 session ended.

He told the state Department of Revenue to start working with different parties about straightening out various parts of laws that seem inconsistent, are in conflict or need changes to keep pace with other states.

Those products appear in two proposals Revenue Secretary Andy Gerlach already filed. A third is coming directly from Daugaard.

Individual legislators also have been working on specific proposals. One lobbyist said Friday the bills count is past 20.

The first arena is the House Commerce and Energy Committee. Its chairman is Rep. Tim Rounds, R-Pierre.

He’s a brother of U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, who while governor saw South Dakota’s alcohol laws expanded. Several Rounds brothers opened a liquor distillery.

In his role as chairman, Rep. Rounds held a preview for the committee Friday. It lasted about 35 minutes. He set the tone at the start.

“For years I’ve been waiting to see Chapter 35 cleaned up. It’s a mess,” he said.

Lobbyists for beer and liquor businesses sat throughout the room and watched from the doorway.

Revenue Department official Jason Evans took the witness chair and briefed the gathering about eight bills. The department introduced two, he said.

HB 1070 is

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