Brand Board withdraws increase of inspection feePIERRE — Amid pressure from the governor’s office, the state Brand Board used a procedural maneuver to prevent discussion and voted 4-1 Friday to table the 20-cent fee increase per head for livestock ownership inspections.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
PIERRE — Amid pressure from the governor’s office, the state Brand Board used a procedural maneuver to prevent discussion and voted 4-1 Friday to table the 20-cent fee increase per head for livestock ownership inspections.
Board members had passed the increase last month on a 3-2 vote, amid opposition from the livestock auction markets association and from the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association.
The decision to withdraw the increase means the inspection fee stays at 80 cents per head until further action. Board members decided to discuss the matter again May 15, and the presence of Gov. Dennis Daugaard was requested.
“I would like the governor himself to be at this meeting, if possible,” board member Bart Blum, of Reliance. “If he isn’t there I hope he has some reputable people there to represent him.”
Board member Curt Mortenson, of Fort Pierre, attempted to speak as the motion for withdrawing the increase was made. He was stopped by board member Wanda Blair of Vale.
“There’s no discussion on a tabling motion,” Blair said.
Mortenson held his tongue and subsequently voted against the motion.
Blum said the brand program has been successful because of the work by its director, Larry Stearns, and the program’s numbers are on track. Blum said Stearns does a good job.
“I think the entire board supports Larry,” Blum said. He added, “And don’t let people shoot you up because you’re there (in Pierre).”
The board’s chairman, Mark Kimball, of Platte, had opened the meeting by strongly suggesting the tabling motion and setting a new meeting. As business wrapped up after the vote was taken and the next meeting date was set, Kimball had one more point.
“I’m going to make a pretty broad statement here. We need to figure out who’s running this program, and so on, and so forth,” Kimball said.
During the March 28 meeting Mortenson, Blum and Blair voted for the increase, while Kimball and Scott Vance of Faith voted against it.