Committee kills bill to give tribes free parks access

February 7, 2022 GMT

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota House committee on Monday killed a proposal to grant tribal members free access to the state’s parks and recreation areas and to provide free licenses to hunt and fish on non-tribal land.

The State Affairs Committee considered legislation offered by Rep. Shawn Bordeaux, a member of he Rosebud Sioux Tribe who said he got the idea from similar legislation in Minnesota.

The committee merged Bordeaux’s two proposals into one bill and voted 11-2 to kill it, KELO-TV reported.

Tribal governments got “raked over the coals” when the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1970s decided the U.S. government owed them $105 million for taking the Black Hills, the Mission Democrat said.

Bordeaux said the free access and licenses would be limited to the nine tribes who have treaties with the U.S. government connected to land in South Dakota. He said tribal members’ spouses and children would also have free access and licenses.

Scott Simpson, director for the state Division of Parks and Recreation, opposed the legislation.

“This is a user pay, user benefit system,” Simpson said.