And here we go...

“If it’s me that’s driving you to this madness
Then there’s one thing that I’d like to say
Would you take a look at your life and your lovers
Nothing ever changes.”
“Nothing Ever Changes” - Stevie Nicks

The venerable Stevie Nicks typically was known for her soulful voice, but on this tune, she’s got more of a rock styling, and I first heard the song as it was mislabeled as a Fleetwood Mac tune, Nicks’ band before she went solo in the early 1980s.

The song circles around the idea that returning to the same situation and expecting a different result is expecting things that just are not going to be.

This week opened the legislative session in Pierre, and before the first day of official session, more than 130 bills had been created for consideration by the legislature and one House Joint Resolution had even been drafted.

One of the major things on the agenda in this year’s session, based on the number of bills drafted before the first session had even begun, was marijuana.

I’ll leave recreational marijuana to a whole other discussion, though it is interesting that some of the most outspoken opponents among legislators are also those same legislators who appeared in reports as being intoxicated while in chambers last year during session. Seems a bit hypocritical…

The notable thing at first glance is how many bills are present to alter or change the rules governing medical marijuana.

Mind you, the voters approved a very, very detailed initiated measure in 2020, which took the Department of Health months and months to iron out draft rules and then approve those rules before finally putting them in place in November for the residents of the state to begin finally accessing the law that was overwhelmingly approved.

One of those bills changes the products that are available to state residents, completely removing the option to include medical cannabis into a food product, which is often the most accessible way for those who desperately need the help of medical marijuana to treat a host of medical conditions.

As someone who has had the conversation with my potential prescribing medical provider regarding medical marijuana, ingestion was considered by far the best route for me, as I’m allergic to marijuana smoke - something that made working in a residence hall in college a real joy, let me tell you!

The frustrating part in reading a bill like this proposed is seeing that one of its primary co-sponsors is one of our local legislators through the redistricting process. While I know the person, I also know that the people at the Department of Health, who spent months reviewing every single line of the rules and regulations surrounding medical cannabis, are working within their respective fields when dealing with rules regarding the health of South Dakota residents.

This legislator is... not.

This year’s session will also have its typical nonsense bills, such as the one already proposed to provide for permanent daylight savings time, which is one of the most significant things going on in the state, no sarcasm at all in that statement…

There’s also a notable focus on schools regarding what legislators assume is critical race theory and what the Governor calls “action civics.”

It’s been covered in this column previously, but no South Dakota elementary school or high school is teaching true critical race theory. The phrase is a trigger word that is being tossed around without anyone having any idea what it really means. Frankly, if Huron had students in elementary school at the intellectual capability to have nuanced discussion on actual critical race theory in elementary school classrooms, it’d be worthy of praising educators that the children were that advanced.

The level of discourse and examination required for what is typically law school coursework is not going to be taught in your school.

Please don’t let trigger words scare that thought into you.

Similar with “action civics,” whatever the Governor believes she’s preventing there. Astonishing that a governor who has such a negative view on the reservations in the state would want them marginalized further in education, isn’t it?

Finally, there were three bills that had been dropped regarding “fairness in women’s sports” before the first gavel fell on the 2022 session.

There can be differing opinions on this, but the South Dakota High School Activities Association has put forth their ruling on this issue, without the need to score any political points, and it’s not affected the games on the court or field to this point.

One big issue to consider - with the push to “force” playing sports according to the gender assigned at birth, would that not open the door to a female transitioning to a male being forced to participate in female sports while having the benefit of prescribed hormonal benefits?

The bills never address THAT side of the issue, and it would be as likely as the opposing side, but that’s not surprising. There wasn’t an answer to that question last session for the same legislation, either.

Talk about driving one to madness!


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