Earlier this month the U.S. House of Representatives took a double-barreled vote to suspend the rules and approve the Black Hills Cemetery Act sponsored by South Dakota’s one member of the House, Republican Kristi Noem. Forty members didn’t vote. The final tally was 390-2. Who were the two?

One was a Michigan Republican, Justin Amash, who was elected to Congress in the 2010 elections as was Noem. The other was Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican who is serving in his first term. Both Amash and Massie are members of the House committee on oversight and government reform.

H.B 291 would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in its role as custodian of the Black Hills National Forest, to convey various cemeteries to the local organizations tending the cemeteries. Two additional acres of land would also be conveyed in each instance.

The cemeteries are:

The Silver City Cemetery, to the Silver City Volunteer Fire Dept.;

The Hayward Cemetery, to the Hayward Volunteer Fire Dept.;

The land adjacent to the Englewood Cemetery to the City of Lead;

The land adjacent to the Mountain Meadow Cemetery to the Mountain Meadow Cemetery Association;

The Roubaix Cemetery to the Roubaix Cemetery Association;

The Nemo Cemetery to the Nemo Cemetery Association;

The Galena Cemetery to the Galena Historical Society;

The Rockerville Cemetery to the Rockerville Community Club; and

The Cold Springs Cemetery to the Cold Springs Historical Society.

The legislation would require the land remain in its present use and the recipient in each instance would be responsible for the surveying costs. The Senate’s approval is still needed.

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