South Dakota governor signs bill limiting disclosure of nonprofit donor information

South Dakota governor signs bill limiting disclosure of nonprofit donor information    

On March 3, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed HB1079 into law, barring state executive branch officials from expanding existing nonprofit donor disclosure requirements. 

What the bill does

HB1079 prohibits any executive branch entity (e.g., the governor, the secretary of state, etc.) from requiring “any annual filing or reporting of a nonprofit corporation or charitable trust that is more stringent, restrictive, or expansive than that required by state or federal law.” It does not apply to information required “to determine eligibility for or compliance with a state grant or contract.” The bill also exempts information required for, or obtained during, a state fraud investigation or enforcement action.

Legislative history   

The House Judiciary Committee, at Noem’s request,  introduced the bill on Jan. 22. The House approved it 62-8 on Feb. 2. The Senate approved an amended version 32-3 on Feb. 16. In these first two votes, Republicans voted unanimously in favor of the bill, and Democrats voted unanimously against it. On Feb. 22, the House voted 59-9 to accept the Senate’s amendments. In this vote, one Republican, Will Mortenson, broke ranks and voted against the bill. Two Republicans were absent from the vote. Noem signed the bill into law on March 3.

Political context: South Dakota is a Republican trifecta, meaning Republicans control the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature. South Dakota has been a Republican trifecta since 1995.


Mark Miller, an attorney for Noem, supported the bill: “What is this bill about? It’s really about the American way of life. … It’s also meant to return us to the traditional role of anonymity in support for certain causes that one believes in.” 

Rep. Ryan Cwach (D), who voted against HB1079, said, “We expect accountability and we expect transparency from our government, and so the idea that we want to try and keep how people are influencing our government anonymous goes against the whole bedrock of our society.”

Also up for consideration in South Dakota

SB103 would bar any public agency (including state and municipal government units and courts) from:

  • Requiring a tax-exempt nonprofit to provide a public agency with “personal affiliation information,” which is defined as “any list, record, register, registry, roll, roster, or other compilation of any kind that directly or indirectly identifies a natural person as a member, supporter, volunteer, or donor of financial or nonfinancial support to any nonprofit corporation.” 
  • Publicly disclosing any such information a public agency might possess. 
  • Requiring a current or prospective contractor to provide a public agency with a list of the nonprofits “to which it has provided financial or nonfinancial support.” 

The legislation does not bar public agencies from furnishing personal information about a nonprofit’s donors, supporters, etc., for:

  • Campaign finance reporting requirements.
  • A lawful warrant for personal affiliation information.
  • A lawful request for discovery of personal affiliation information in litigation, if the requestor “demonstrates a compelling need” for the information and “obtains a protective order barring disclosure” of information to anyone not named in the litigation.
  • A sales or use tax audit of a nonprofit by the Department of Revenue.
  • An audit, examination, or investigation of a nonprofit corporation conducted under state law.

Legislative status: Sens. Casey Crabtree (R) and James Bolin (R) and Reps. Kirk Chaffee (R), Tim Goodwin (R), and Tim Reed (R) introduced SB103 on Jan. 26. On Feb. 17, the state Senate voted 33-2 in favor of the bill. All Republicans and one Democrat voted in favor. Two Democrats opposed it. On March 3, the House approved an amended version of the bill 55-13. Five Republicans and the chamber’s eight Democrats voted against it. All of the remaining Republicans voted in its favor. It now returns to the Senate for reconsideration in light of the House’s amendments. 

What other states are doing: At least three other states are considering legislation similar to SB103 this year: Iowa (HF309, HSB28, and SSB1036), Nebraska (LB370), and Tennessee (HB0159 and SB1608). All three states are Republican trifectas. 

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 32 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Recent legislative actions

For complete information on all of the bills we are tracking, click here

  • Nebraska LB8: This bill would change the statutory definition of an “independent expenditure.” It would also alter reporting requirements for independent expenditures and electioneering communications.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • A Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee hearing was scheduled for March 4.
  • South Dakota HB1079: This bill would prohibit executive agencies and officials from requiring nonprofits to make disclosures beyond those required under state and federal law.
    • Committee sponsorship.
    • The governor signed the bill into law on March 3.
  • South Dakota SB103: This bill would prohibit public agencies from requiring any person or nonprofit to provide identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors. It would also prohibit the disclosure of any such information currently in the possession of a public agency.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • The House approved the bill, with amendments, on March 3.
  • Tennessee HB0159: This bill would prohibit a public agency from disclosing identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • A House Civil Justice Subcommittee hearing was scheduled for March 9.
  • Tennessee SB1608: This bill would prohibit a public agency from disclosing identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • A Senate State and Local Government Committee hearing was scheduled for March 9.
  • West Virginia HB2932: This bill would prohibit a state agency from imposing additional requirements beyond those currently in place regarding the registration, reporting or operation of a charitable organization.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • The bill was introduced on March 5 and referred to the House Government Organization committee.
  • Wyoming SF0153: This bill would prohibit state and local governmental entities from requiring any person to provide nonprofit affiliation information or otherwise compel the release of nonprofit affiliation information.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • The bill was introduced on March 2 and referred to the Senate Corporations Committee.

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