South Dakota Emergency Management and Homeland Security Statutory Authorities Summarized
CRS Report for Congress
South Dakota Emergency Management and
Homeland Security Statutory Authorities
June 18, 2004
Specialist in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
L. Cheryl Runyon and Kae M. Warnock
Government and Finance Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
South Dakota Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Statutory Authorities
Two sections of the South Dakota code, chapter 33 (“Emergency Management”)
of title 33 (“Military Affairs”) and chapter 5 (“Disaster Relief Protective Measures”)
of title 34 (“Public Health and Safety”) primarily address disasters and emergencies.
The Secretary of Public Safety coordinates the state’s emergency management
organizations, but only the governor is authorized to declare a disaster. The state
reimburses political subdivisions for costs associated with emergency management
activities. Funding for emergency requirements is obtained from the special revenue
fund; each county must also establish an emergency management revenue fund. In
the event of an attack, state officials must plan for the appointment of emergency
This report is one of a series that profiles emergency management and homeland
security statutory authorities of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,
American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each profile identifies the
more significant elements of state statutes, generally as codified. Congressional
readers may wish to conduct further searches for related provisions using the Internet
link presented in the last section of this report. The National Conference of State
Legislatures provided primary research assistance in the development of these
profiles under contract to the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Summary
information on all of the profiles is presented in CRS Report RL32287. This report
will be updated as developments warrant.
Entities with Key Responsibilities.................................1
Types of Assistance............................................3
Continuity of Government Operations..............................5
For Further Research...........................................7
List of Tables
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Terms Defined in South Dakota Statutes, with Citations........7
South Dakota Emergency Management and
Homeland Security Statutory Authorities
Entities with Key Responsibilities
Governor: The governor is authorized to: assume direct operational control over
state emergency management functions; employ emergency management personnel to
assist local authorities; use facilities, equipment, and supplies from any source (other than
private); suspend state rules; control ingress and egress; procure, acquire, and dispense
pharmaceutical agents or medical supplies; appoint and prescribe duties of out-of-state
health care providers; provide for the examination and disposal of dead bodies; and
provide for the protection, construction, reconstruction, repair, and maintenance of public
or private transportation facilities. The governor may exercise these powers for up to six
months after a declaration is issued, and the authority to exercise such powers may be
restored for one or more six-month periods if the governor declares that the conditions
persist (S. D. Cod. Laws § 33-15-8). Further, the governor may make, amend, and rescind
orders to declare an emergency or disaster with consideration given to federal plans (S.D.
Cod. Laws §33-15-9). The governor may also authorize and direct any political
subdivision or any department, commission or agency to assist another (S.D. Cod. Laws
The governor or adjutant general may cooperate with the President, other federal
officials, and, with other state officials, regarding mobilization of emergency
management forces, use of warning signals, maintenance of utilities, and evacuation of
civilians (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-16). By executive order the governor may issue special
permits for the movement of persons, commodities, supplies and equipment if a disaster
occurs, or for an impending disaster (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-9.1).
Secretary of Public Safety: The secretary carries out the state’s emergency
management program, coordinates all activities for emergency management organizations
in the state, and serves as liaison with emergency management agencies in the state and
with the federal government (S.D. Cod. Laws § 33-15-22).
Adjutant General: The adjutant general prepares a comprehensive plan and program
for emergency management in the state, which are to be integrated into and coordinated
with federal, other state, and political subdivision plans. Also, the governor is authorized
to: procure supplies and equipment; enter into agreements with any state or federal
government or private agency to procure food, fuel, supplies, and equipment; distribute
supplies, institute training and public information programs; take steps to mobilize before
a disaster; and provide trained and equipped emergency staff (S.D. Cod. Laws §§33-15-
Cod. Laws §33-1-5).
Department of Public Safety: The department promulgates rules for reporting
procedures on how to contact local officials in event of emergency (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-
15-11.5), and may promulgate rules for establishment of minimum standards of local
effort to obtain financial assistance and procedures, establish compensation levels for
emergency management workers, and provide standards and procedures for the
distribution of assistance authorized by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and
Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.) (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-24.8).
Division of Emergency Management: The statute authorizes the creation of the state
Division of Emergency Management (DEM) as well as local organizations for emergency
management in political subdivisions (S. D. Cod. Laws §33-15-2 (1)).
County emergency management organizations: Each county is required to establish
an emergency management organization and develop an emergency plan in accordance
with the state plan and program (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-26).
Director of local organization: Directors of the local emergency management
organizations are appointed by the executive officer of the governing body and are
responsible for the development and operation of emergency disaster plans and the
organization, administration, and operation of their local organizations, subject to the
direction and control of the local executive officer or governing body (S.D. Cod. Laws
State Emergency Response Commission (SERC): The statute establishes the
commission, comprised of state department heads and the governor’s appointees with
specific areas of expertise. The commission assists local emergency planning committees
(LEPCs) develop and review local plans, determine the level of threat from accidental
releases of chemicals, and the local capability to respond to emergencies. The
commission must recommend emergency response capabilities and evaluate options and
make recommendations to support emergency response planning. SERC duties include
coordinating and implementing state requirements for the 42 U.S.C. §11001 et seq. (the
Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, or SARA), designating local
emergency planning districts and supervising all activities of LEPCs, and coordinating
and implementing federal grants for training LEPCs and public employees (S. D. Cod.
Laws § 1-50-1 et seq.).
Municipalities (S.D. Cod. Laws §§33-15-11.1, 11.2) and county commissions (S.D.
Cod. Laws §§33-15-11.3, 11.4) annually provide contact information pertinent to local
public officials and specified employees to DEM. The statute provides for the
confidentiality of this information (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-11.6).
Political subdivisions are authorized to negotiate contracts and incur obligations to
manage the response to a declared disaster or emergency “without regard to time-
consuming formalities.” Officials, however, must comply with mandatory constitutional
requirements (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-29).
See Also “Entities with Key Responsibilities”—State Emergency Response
Commission, Adjutant General
The governor is authorized to declare an emergency or disaster if conditions exceed
the capabilities of local governments (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-8 (2)). The governor may
authorize and direct the resources of any political subdivision or any department to be
provided to assist another political subdivision after declaring an emergency or disaster
(S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-8.1).
Boards of county commissioners may declare that a disaster or emergency exists to
authorize expenditures from the snow removal and special emergency fund (S.D. Cod.
Types of Assistance
The state compensates political subdivisions for the expenses incurred by employees
while serving as emergency management workers. In addition, reimbursements must be
made for death and disability payments and the losses or damages to supplies and
equipment while under state control (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-20).
Counties are required to assist local government subdivisions in meeting eligibility
requirements for state financial assistance (S.D. Con. Laws §33-15-24.3).
In counties where the governor has declared an emergency or disaster, and where
local effort requirements have been met, the state provides financial assistance for
additional operational costs (S.D. Con. Laws §33-15-24.4).
Emergency management workers from one political subdivision have the same
powers, duties, rights, and immunities as if performing similar services in their own when
sent to another (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-8.2).
Counties may form emergency management districts and use appropriate general
revenue funds for salaries and expenses (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-33).
Political subdivisions that receive emergency assistance from other subdivisions
must provide reimbursements for all supplies, equipment, and associated expenses,
subject to specifications (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-8.3).
The Uniform Emergency Management Assistance Compact is codified (S.D. Cod.
The adjutant general, with the approval of the governor, may enter into mutual aid
arrangements with other states and coordinate mutual aid plans between political
subdivisions (S.D. Cod. Laws § 33-15-13).
Directors of local emergency management organizations may develop mutual aid
arrangements consistent with state plans and programs (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-34) and
may, with the approval of the governor, enter into mutual aid arrangements with
emergency management agencies in other states (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-35).
The governor may authorize and direct the resources of any political subdivision or
department to be used to assist another political subdivision in a declared disaster or
emergency (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-8.1).
The statute created the “special emergency and disaster special revenue fund.”
Expenditures from this fund are made for special emergency requirements of DEM that
are not included in general and special appropriations. None of the funds reverts to
general revenue (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-23). All collections, donations, and bequests
(gifts, grants, loan) for emergency management are to be credited to the fund (S.D. Cod.
Counties are required to assist their political subdivisions with emergency and
disaster funds in order to meet eligibility requirements for state financial assistance (S.D.
Cod. Laws §33-15-24.3).
The state provides financial assistance (a maximum of 60% of costs) to counties for
operational costs that must be incurred for an emergency or disaster situation. The
governor is authorized to provide additional financial assistance if there is a need to
preserve life and property (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-24.4). Such state financial assistance
may be provided from funds appropriated to the “special emergency and disaster revenue
fund” with vouchers executed by the county treasurer and approved by the adjutant
general (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-24.5). County commissioners must estimate and certify
the additional costs due to the emergency. Excess funds are returned to the state fund
(S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-24.6).
Each county is required to establish an emergency management revenue fund in the
office of the county treasurer (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-31). If funds are not sufficient to
meet the federal match, the county or district may request an advance of federal funds to
be placed in the revenue fund (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-32).
The governor is authorized to cooperate with the federal government to implement
the Stafford Act (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-25.1). The state auditor general is required to
conduct audits of disaster project applications (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-25.2).
Each district organization for emergency management may establish a special
emergency and disaster fund in the office of the county treasurer. Any reimbursement or
matching funds must be deposited in the account and used for emergency management.
Withdrawals must be made on warrants by the county auditor on vouchers approved by
the district organization director and one commissioner of the organization’s advisory
board (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-37).
Boards of county commissioners are authorized to establish county snow removal
and special emergency reserve funds through a tax levy (S.D. Cod. Laws §34-5-2). The
county snow removal and special emergency reserve fund must be used to meet
emergency requirements during a disaster and to repay emergency aid grants from the
state emergency fund, among other purposes (S.D. Cod. Laws §34-5-3). County boards
and county highway superintendents determine when snow removal is needed; in order
to expend such funds, the governor or county commissioners must declare that an
emergency exists (S.D. Cod. Laws §34-5-4). Boards of county commissioners must
approve expenditures from the fund (S.D. Cod. Laws §34-5-5). The county highway
superintendent accounts for expenditures of snow removal funds (S.D. Cod. Laws §34-5-
6). At the end of a fiscal year, the unexpended balance in the county snow removal and
special emergency fund accumulates for future use. No part of the fund can revert to
county general funds or be used for any other purpose (S.D. Cod. Laws §34-5-7).
The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources may accept and expend
any federal funds, gifts, or contributions to support the State Emergency Response
Commission (SERC) and local emergency planning committees (LEPCs). The legislature
determines which facilities should pay a reasonable fee to defray the costs of the SERC
and to establish a fee schedule. The statute created a fund to defray expenses associated
with SERC activities including maintenance of a toll free number for reporting spills,
helping local governments establish LEPCs, conducting training exercises, among others
(S.D.Cod. Laws §1-50-4 et seq.).
No specific provisions.
Continuity of Government Operations
The Emergency Interim Executive and Judicial Succession Act provides for
emergency interim succession for state offices and officers in political subdivisions, as
well as emergency judges, should incumbents be unavailable in the event of an attack.
All state officers must designate three to seven emergency interim successors and specify
the order of succession. Emergency interim successors are to exercise the powers and
discharge the duties of an office as specified. The legislature, by concurrent resolution,
may at any time terminate the authority of emergency interim successors. Emergency
interim successors only serve after an attack on the United States and serve until the
governor appoints a successor, the successor is elected, or an officer becomes available
(S.D. Cod. Laws § 1-30-1 et seq.). The statute also provides for emergency interim
successors for local officials (S.D. Cod. Laws §1-30-5 et seq.).
The legislature has the power during emergencies that result from an enemy attack
to (1) provide for the prompt and temporary succession to the powers and duties of public
offices (elected or appointed) when incumbents are unavailable, and (2) adopt other
measures to insure the continuity of government operations (S.D. Const. Art. III §29).
If the state government affairs in Pierre cannot be conducted by an emergency
resulting from an enemy attack or anticipated attack, the governor shall, by proclamation,
declare an emergency temporary location(s) for the seat of government within or without
the state, and shall issue orders necessary for orderly transition to emergency temporary
location(s). A temporary location(s) remains as the seat of government until the
legislature establishes a new location(s) by law, or the governor declares the emergency
over, and the seat of government returns to the normal location (S. D. Cod. Laws § 1-29-1
The governor may change the place of meeting for a legislative session within or
without the state in the event of attack. In the event of an attack, the governor must call
the legislature into session within 90 days. If the governor fails to issue such a call, the
legislature automatically convenes where the governor has his office. Rules regarding the
length and topics of the session during the emergency are suspended during such a session
(S.D. Cod. Laws §§2-3-9, 2-3-10).
All acts of local government remain valid if local governments must relocate within
or without the state (S.D. Cod. Laws §6-6-1 et seq.)
The governor, adjutant general, and officers of political subdivisions must use the
services, equipment, supplies, facilities, and staff of state departments and political
subdivisions. Local political subdivisions must exhaust all available resources before
obtaining assistance from another subdivision. The state and local governments must
exhaust their resources before obtaining private resources (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-21).
Emergency management workers from another state performing emergency
management in South Dakota under mutual aid agreements or compacts may exercise the
powers, duties, and immunities in South Dakota that they exercise in their home state
(S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-36).
The statute provides for workers compensation for emergency management workers
(S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-38).
A professional license is not required for emergency management workers using
such skills during a disaster (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-39).
Real estate owners who voluntarily, and without compensation, permit sheltering
during an attack or during a practice for a disaster or emergency are not civilly liable for
death or injury to a person or loss or damage to property (S.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-41).
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Terms Defined in South Dakota Statutes, with Citations
Act of terrorismS.D. Cod. Laws §22-8-12
Adjutant generalS.D. Codified Law s 33-15-1 (1)
AttackS.D. Cod. Laws § 1-30-2 (1)
DisasterS.D. Codified Law s 33-15-1 (2)
EmergencyS.D. Cod. Laws §§ 1-30-2 (2), 33-15-1 (3)
Emergency interim successorS.D. Cod. Laws §1-30-2 (2)
Emergency managementS.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-1 (4)
Emergency management workerS.D. Cod. Laws § 33-15-1 (5)
Hazardous materialS.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-1 (6)
Local effortS.D. Cod. Laws § 33-15-1 (7)
Local organization for emergencyS.D. Cod. Laws § 33-15-1 (8)
OfficeS.D. Cod. Laws §1-30-2 (3)
SARAS.D. Cod. Laws §1-50-7
Search and rescueS.D. Cod. Laws §33-15-1 (10)
SERCS.D. Cod. Laws §1-50-7
UnavailableS.D. Cod. Laws §1-30-2 (5)
For Further Research
The citations noted above and other elements of the state code for South Dakota may
be searched at: [http://legis.state.sd.us/statutes/index.cfm].