Home > 2014 SD Legislative Session, South Dakota > A look at the final 2014 SD legislative bills signed into law on March 28

A look at the final 2014 SD legislative bills signed into law on March 28

March 31, 2014

taber_No_Cell_Phones_AllowedToday was VETO Day in South Dakota. It was the 38th and final legislative day of the 2014 session. Theoretically today was when the legislature met to try overturning any veto’s by the governor during the two-week end session recess. But since Governor Daugard didn’t veto anything during the recess the legislature really had nothing to do today other than officially gavel out for the year. The single bill veto’d this session was SB 98, a bill that allowed a tax hike in Deadwood. As I said before, vetoing that bill was likely more political than anything, and the legislature didn’t even really try overturning the veto.

Below is a list of the final bills signed into law on March 28 by Governor Daugaard for the 2014 legislative session. I have included brief thoughts with each bill in the list. My previous posts summarizing bills signed into law can be found as follows: Feb 23, Feb 23, Feb 25, Feb 28, March 3, March 7, March 10, March 12, March 14, March 24, and March 26.

Here are the final bills signed for 2014. It is a mixture of good, bad, and horrible.

SB 1An Act to provide for the selection of the chair and vice chair of the Executive Board of the Legislative Research Council, to revise the membership of the Executive Board, to provide for the term of each constituted Executive Board, to provide for the year-round governance of the Legislative Research Council by the Executive board, and to provide for continuity of board membership.

This bill is interesting because it tries to fix some of the issues of having a part-time legislature. In particular this bill will allow better leadership stability for the LRC. I’m not sure if this is a good change or not. Personally I think a better fix of problems in Pierre have to do with removing powers from the executive branch.

SB 65An Act to revise and clarify voter eligibility for road district elections.

The big change with this bill (and a contentious one) is to change the code to saying “eligible voters” from the older language of “landowners”.

SB 108An Act to require a study of services and insurance coverage for the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder for children.

This was a hoghouse vehicle bill. The original ’empty’ bill was to affected medical services in SD. It was briefly hoghoused by the Senate State Affairs committee makes sure third-party payers don’t refuse to pay for some medical claims in certain circumstances. The bill was then re-hoghoused in the House State Affairs committee to establish a workgroup study on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It was then further amended to focus more on a study of the services and insurance coverage for the treatment of ASD. The hoghousing of this bill towards ASD was response to HB 1257 being killed. Basically HB 1257 would have mandated Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to be covered by insurance companies. I empathize with the parents trying to get this 1257 passed; but I cannot advocate any more mandates than ACA has already imposed on health insurance coverage. This bill, SB 108, is a bad on in my opinion. It is nothing but a two-step approach to getting the mandate passed in 2015. The study will be conducted in such a way that will ‘prove’ an insurance mandate is necessary. Hopefully other options can be looked at, including great private organizations that already help parents with children that need ABA.

SB 158An Act to revise certain funding provisions of the building South Dakota fund.

This was a bad bill! It removes the restrictions placed upon the Building South Dakota fund as passed in 2013. Basically this bill makes a liar out of the 2013 legislature and Governor Daugaard when they passed Building South Dakota and restricted it to be a lower priority than little things like education and state employee compensation. This change to Building South Dakota actually potentially attacks the states reserves to make sure money is always available for crony capitalism economic development. Add to the $30,000,000 already dropped in the Building South Dakota this year and it isn’t hard to guess the Governor’s priority in 2014…

SB 176An Act to revise the ability of the secretary of the Department of Revenue to reduce or abate taxes.

This was a small change in code, but it seems to be a good one. It does give the DoR more flexibility in dealing with people who didn’t pay certain taxes due to a misunderstanding.

SB 177An Act to make an appropriation to provide contingency funds to be made available for unanticipated costs related to medical services and to declare an emergency.

This bill appropriates $16 million of SD money and $17.5 million of federal money for contingency use with Medicaid & CHIP. This bill is necessary for the operation of Medicaid in the state. It is interesting to see all the amending that went on. The original bill called for $22.5 million of state money and $22.5 of federal money.

SB 181An Act to define vapor products as tobacco products for the purpose of regulating the use of the products by minors and to place certain restrictions on the sale of vapor products.

This was actually a bad bill based upon perception instead of anything like fact or any problem that exists. The war on tobacco has been waged due to the many health risks that come from its use. However there is nothing to show the new vapor products have the same dangers as traditional tobacco. There is also a lack of evidence showing this is a problem for youth. This bill as passed into law will have no actual impact on the sales of vapor products, or their potential use by minors. But I guess if the legislature wants to waste time on laws that make them look like they are being responsible, that is their prerogative…

SB 183An Act to revise the trust fund requirements for perpetual cemeteries, and to declare an emergency.

Not a bill I had a lot of interest in. It definitely was amended a lot and had unanimous support. I don’t see any problems with this one.

SB 188An Act to set the per student allocation for fiscal year 2015.

This changes the per student allocation from $4,389.95 to $4,781.14. I’ll just repeat what I said in a previous post about SB 37, which revise the state aid to general education formula: “Considering the millions of “free” money found from unclaimed property this last year I thought the governor and legislature could have done better than this. But instead the legislature gave that money to the Governors program to support friends of his that have large businesses.”

HB 1040An Act to revise the General Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2014.        

This bill made adjustments to the budget for the current fiscal year (2014) based upon what has actually happened so far. I haven’t looked too much into this to see if it is good or bad. But I do see a lot of appropriations have increased. I also see some full-time employee’s (FTEs) have been added. I would have thought these change would need approval in the normal appropriations bills, instead of a previous year appropriations.

HB 1041An Act to make an appropriation for the railroad trust fund and to declare an emergency. 

This is a bill I had no problem with to begin with. Yet as I look deeper into the States management of the publicly owned portion of the rail I have little confidence the $7,200,000 will be utilized with anything near competence.

HB 1111An Act to revise certain provisions related to the design, construction, and equipping of a veterans home near Hot Springs, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

This is money well spent by the state. The purpose of this bill to deal with increased costs in the project is troubling though.

HB 1112An Act to appropriate general funds and higher education facility funds to replace a portion of the other funds appropriated for the construction of swine teaching and research facilities at South Dakota State University and to declare an emergency.

I haven’t really looked into this one too much. It just appears to shuffle money around…

HB 1122An Act to define the limitations of interstate compacts relating the collection of civil fines.

This was a good bill. It prevents South Dakota from helping third parties that collect civil fines received in other states from cameras. Most importantly it prevents the use of our drivers licence data from those companies. These speed and red light cameras used in other states are used purely for grabbing revenue and they usually have little or no due process built-in for fighting them (because they are a civil fine, and not criminal). I applaud this bill for what it does.

HB 1142An Act to enhance the support for public postsecondary technical institutes, to transfer certain funds, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

I have to agree with Rep Kaiser on this bill. Here is what he had to say on his Facebook page after voting no to it: “I voted no to adopt the conference committee report to HB 1142, an act to enhance technical institutes. This is a priority in spending bill, my priority is k-12 education, once we have that funded we can look at other education options to enhance.” I really think many of our legislators have priorities mixed up…

HB 1164 An Act to revise certain provisions regarding school board opening day decision petitions.

I really like this one. It makes it easier for parents to petition their local school board to change the start date of the school year. This has become quite an issue and school boards simply are not listening to parents when they say they want school to start after Labor Day. This puts a little more power in the hands of parents. It must be noted however that this bill does not set a new date. So even if the school board is forced to make a change is may not be for the better. So this bill isn’t perfect, but at least it is a move in the right direction.

HB 1175An Act to authorize the Board of Regents to expand university facilities at the University of South Dakota, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

This appropriation gives $1 million for use by USD expanding in Sioux Falls with no actual detail as to what it must be used for. I really can’t understand why the state is giving a million dollar check to the school without being tied to anything.

HB 1177An act to prohibit certain use of handheld electronic wireless communication devices while driving and to provide a penalty therefor.

Governor Daugaard was so proud of this bill that he announced signing it separately. This is the new statewide texting ban that takes effect on July 1. The bill is a secondary offense with a $100 fine. Since it is secondary a cop cannot pull anyone over for it, just like with the seat-belt law. The new law also specifies that law enforcement cannot take someones phone away simply because they were texting and driving. The bad side of this law is that it doesn’t prevent local governments from enacting their own harsher laws. So the problem of cities going overboard with texting bans will continue. Proponents of texting bans failed to look at the actual research that shows such bans actually potentially makes the roads more unsafe because now texters will do so under the dash, this putting their eyes further from the road. I agree with many of the proponents of this bill that more education needs to get out about the dangers of texting while driving. I just don’t see this as an answer that will actually work the way legislators think it will.

HB 1194An Act to establish certain requirements relating to the crossing of railroad rights-of-way by rural water system lines.

This one sets some rules for utilities when they need to cross a rail. It seems pretty harmless, but unnecessary since the railroad and utilities should be able to come to agreements without state intervention…

HB 1203An Act to improve the financial practices of the State of South Dakota.

This is another hoghouse vehicle bill. The House originally passed it with nothing in it, that’s your legislature at work… The hoghoused version does however seem to make some good changes to dealing with budget shortfalls. I just wish the bill could have used the normal process that is open to public input instead of being forced through in secret with a hoghouse amendment.

HB 1206An Act to authorize the payment of lease rental obligations to the South Dakota Building Authority by the Bureau of Finance and Management, to make an appropriation therefore, and to declare an emergency.

This one only makes sense. We have to pay the bills that the state is committed to.

HB 1213An Act to analyze and promote economic development for South Dakota’s Native American population and to establish a task force.

I actually really like this bill. I hope this opportunity is taken to look at how property rights and entrepreneurial endeavors can help the tribes. That will make them less reliant on federal dollars and more self sufficient and able to grow a stable economy.

HB 1249An Act to revise the required hours in a school term for certain grade levels.

This bill took a small amount of power away from the Board of Education. For that alone I am happy with this being passed.

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