Rep. Patricia Stricherz (R-8/Winfred) is contending for the title of My Favorite Republican in this year's Legislative session... which I suspect means she'll get more cold shoulder from her fellow District 8 Republican Russell Olson.
Rep. Stricherz is already poking the Republican bear with the suggestion that she will introduce legislation to bring South Dakota into compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act, a sore spot for state government after NPR's investigation of our foster care system last October.
Now Rep. Stricherz leads a motley bipartisan crew in filing HB 1098, which would repeal a law passed last session that eliminated state-level oversight of in situ leach mining for uranium. The bill was essentially a gift to southern Black Hills uranium miner Mark Hollenbeck and Powertech, the Canadian company he fronts in South Dakota, from Rep. Lance Russell (R-20/Hot Springs), who masquerades as an environmental lawyer but who helped his mother finagle land with Powertech uranium leases prior to his spsonsorship of this legislation.
Stricherz opposed this risky, cronyist deregulation last year. With Powertech's stock declining both literally and figuratively, Rep. Stricherz may find it easier to beat the miners who would pollute our Black Hills and the Cheyenne River watershed.
If her Republican colleagues find regulating uranium hard to swallow, Rep. Stricherz should remind them that HB 1098 is really a states' rights bill. Rep. Russell took oversight away from South Dakota and put it entirely in the hands of federal regulators. Rep. Stricherz would return decision-making power to the state of South Dakota. Go, Patty!