Home > 2015 SD Legislative Session > SD 2015 Legislature: The Senate Commerce and Energy committee will tackle six bills on January 20

SD 2015 Legislature: The Senate Commerce and Energy committee will tackle six bills on January 20

January 18, 2015

camp-areaOn Tuesday, January 20th, at 10:00am the Senate Commerce and Energy committee will hear public input on six bills. I believe this is the most bills any committee has attempted to go through thus far this session.

In posts of this type I am writing my impression of the bill. If it is an area that interests me I do more research. If not I just write my impression and will wait for the proponent testimony during the hearing to find out more about the bill. Here are the six bills before the committee:

SB 31 – Revise certain provisions regarding coordination of benefits between health plans.

This bill is at the request of the SD Department of Labor and Regulation. In the modern world it is not uncommon for people to be have insurance through more than one source (such as two spouses getting family insurance through work). This bill appears to do two things.

First this bill adds an eighth type to the list of what the term plan includes: “Group and nongroup insurance contracts and subscriber contracts that pay or reimburse for the cost of dental care.” I would have thought this would have been covered by the first type in the list: “Group and nongroup insurance contracts and subscriber contracts;”. But apparently the “pay or reimburse for the cost of dental care” is not covered by that, thus the need for the expanded definition. I don’t see any problem with adding this to the current definition of plan.

The second part of this bills deal with the order of benefits for dependents. It basically clarifies the order of coverage when the child has coverage under “under either or both parents’ plans and also has his or her own coverage as a dependent under a spouse’s plan”. Again, I see nothing wrong with this. It appears to clarify current codified law to ensure there is no pointing fingers between insurance companies when a dependent is involved.

SB 36 – Repeal certain outdated and unnecessary statutes and to update certain references related to the Department of Tourism.

My favorite type of bill. One that removes old and unnecessary code! The SD Department of Tourism requested this bill. There are four sections to this bill:

  1. The first section removes code that allows any society to become an auxiliary member of the SD State Historical Society, and require them to submit an annual report.
  2. The second section only says “The director of the historical society shall work for free”. Perhaps this position doesn’t exist anymore, or they wish to pay this person. Either way, I don’t see a problem with removing this code.
  3. The third section removes the requirement that the DSU museum continue within the “Cultural Preservation Office of the Division of Cultural Affairs of the Department of Education”. Don’t see a problem here, it probably relates to the changes in section 4.
  4. The final section changes the wording from Office of history to the State Historical Society. It also removes the DSU museum from their function, and adds the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre to their function.

At this time I don’t see any reason this bill would be held up.

SB 18 – Establish certain administrative provisions regarding charitable raffles, lotteries, and bingo and to make violations of these provisions subject to the Deceptive Trade Practice and Consumer Protection Act.

This bill is one of a few coming directly as a result of the crazy 2014 election (for anyone curious, just Google search ‘Bosworth raffle scam’). SB 18 is at the request of the SD AG’s office. This bill adds a new section to code which includes:

  • Lotteries cannot continue for more than 18 months after the first ticket is sold.
  • If the drawing cannot be held at the 18 month mark, then all ticket holders should be notified that they can get a full refund.
  • If the purchasers do not notify that they want the refund within 180 days, then the money will be placed in the Unclaimed Property fund.

This is one of the few times I actually agree with money going to unclaimed property. At least the money can sit there, instead of in the pockets of anyone wishing to scam people via fraudulent raffles.

This bill also has a couple of minor language cleanups. I don’t see any reason the AG, Jackley, won’t get this one passed by the legislature. It would be interesting to sit in on the hearing if Bosworth chose to show up and speak against the bill though…

SB 30 – revise the review process for rate and policy form filing denials for insurers.

The SD Department of Labor and Regulation asked for this bill. This bill adds a new section to SD Codified Law dealing with Form and Contents of Insurance Policies (§ 58-11). This bill allows insurers to request a hearing in order to appeal a disapproval of a rate or policy form. I don’t see any reason to oppose this bill. It seems to be allowing a proper legal method to appeal a situation that could potentially harm an insurer.

SB 58 – Revise certain authority, monetary penalties, and hearing procedures of the South Dakota Commission on Gaming.

This bill changes some of the monetary penalties for gambling licenses holders that broke the law or rules. Here are some of the notable changes in section 1 of this bill:

  • Wording was updated to clarify the maximum penalty is per offense. The current language in the law appears to be a max penalty, no matter how many offenses have occurred.
  • Slot machine manufacturer distributors with offenses currently can be fined $100,000; this bill changes that to $250,000.
  • Operators currently can be fined $25,000; this bill changes the max to $100,000.
  • Retail or gaming property owners can be fined $12,500; this bill changes that max to $25,000.

Section 2 of the bill states that slot machines seized may be destroyed if the person responsible for those slot machines doesn’t show up to the hearing. (is it ever a good idea to ignore hearings?)

Section 3 of the bill allows a license to be cancelled or revoked without a hearing if it is done so voluntarily, and if no hearing is asked for. That makes sense. Why waste resources on a hearing nobody wants.

Section 4 allows the commission to grant a conditional license during a probationary period due to a felony (which would appear to normally revoke a license). If the commission finds the license seeker is suitable to hold a license, why prevent them from conducting their business.

Personally I think the state should get out of the gaming industry altogether. And drop all of its silly laws and rules about gambling. Additionally I wonder why section 1 of this bill is so dramatically increasing the penalties. Is this a search for more revenue sources? Is there a problem with repeat offenders? I will likely listen to the proponent testimony to find out what is driving section 1 of this bill.

SB 62 – increase certain license fees for food service, lodging, and campground establishments.

This one comes at the request of the SD Department of Health. Last year the Department of Health requested SB29, which basically overhauled the code relating to campgrounds. That law was passed and signed into law. Apparently they aren’t done mucking around with the campground industry (and other food service and lodging establishments).

Section one of this bill changes the one time fee from $38 to $45 for a new Bed and Breakfast. Fee increase is another way to tax increase….

Section two of the bill changes the following annual license fees (taxes):

  • Food service establishments with no seating from $90 to $100
  • Food service establishments with 1-50 seats from $120 to $140
  • Food service establishments with 51-100 seats from $180 to $210
  • Food service establishments with over 100 seats from $225 to $265
  • Vacation home establishment from $45 to $55
  • Specialty resort from $45 to $55
  • Hotel from $2.25 to $2.65 per unit… with the minimum changes from $45 to $55

Section three specifically picks on the campgrounds. The following fees (taxes) are raised:

  • 2-25 campsites goes from $75 to $90
  • 26-100 campsites goes from $113 to $135
  • 101-200 campsites goes from $150 to $175
  • 201-300 campsites goes from $188 to $220
  • 301 and more campsites goes from $225 to $265

Section four picks on mobile food service establishments by raising their fee (tax) from $38 to $45.

Finally, section five change the fee (tax) for temporary food service establishments from $38 to $50.

I will probably definitely listen to the testimony on this bill to see why the Department of Health believes taxes need to go up on these food and entertainment establishments. Looking at this bill right now it looks like nothing but a series of tax hikes.

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