Home > 2015 SD Legislative Session > Senate Education committee has 3 bills on Thurs Feb 19

Senate Education committee has 3 bills on Thurs Feb 19

February 18, 2015

primary-quizUpdated 2-19-15 – Earlier I incorrectly stated this is the last day to move bills from the chamber of origin to the floor. There is in fact one more opportunity to do so for these committees on next Tuesday!

On Thursday, February 19th, at 7:45 AM the SD Senate Education committee will take on 3 bills.

This is the second to last day this committee has to move Senate bills from the committee to the Senate floor.

Also on the agenda: Governor Appointment: Deb Shephard, Codington County, Watertown, South Dakota, to the South Dakota Board of Education

SB 189 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Provide a tax credit to insurance companies that contribute to an organization providing educational scholarships to certain students and instructional supply grants to certain teachers and parents.

Sen Phyllis Heineman (R, Dist 13) and Rep Brian Gosch (R, Dist 32) are the prime sponsors. Section 2 of the bill has the crux of this Act:

The partners in education tax credit program is hereby established. Through the program, any company that is liable to pay the insurance company premium and annuity tax pursuant to § 10-44-2 may claim credit for contributions made to the scholarship and grant funding organization. The tax credit may be claimed by the company in an amount equal to up to ninety percent of the total contributions made to the funding organization in any taxable year.

There are restrictions in the bill as to how much the program can pay out per year. I think it is great when companies provide educational scholarships and such. But… companies should be doing this on their own. A tax credit isn’t needed. This is just a roundabout way for the legislature to direct taxpayer dollars outside of the normal appropriation process. If the legislature really wants to help education they should find ways to do it in a more direct manner.

SB 188 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Require the Department of Education to use a competitive bidding process when acquiring academic assessments.

Sen Phil Jensen (R, Dist 33) and Rep Lana Greenfield  (R, Dist 2) are the prime sponsors. The testing being implemented with Common Core in South Dakota is costing atrociously vast amounts of dollars. In response comes this bill. Here is the entirety of the new code being added by the bill:

Before entering into any contract relating to the development or acquisition of academic assessments to be administered in school districts pursuant to § 13-3-55, the Department of Education shall utilize an open and competitive bid process. The department shall award the contract to the lowest bidder which, in the opinion of the department, provides assessments that are in the best interests of the State of South Dakota.

I agree with what this bill is doing. This should be the case in ALL state government business. It will be interesting to see if Secretary Schopp opposes the bill. Technically it doesn’t take any power away from the Dept of Ed. The Dept still chooses the eventual winner of the bid. Really all this does is ensure the Dept of Ed utilizes and open and competitive bid process.

HB 1097 – SoDakLiberty PostsProvide for a reduced minimum fall enrollment for certain school districts.

Rep Fred Deutsch (R, Dist 4) and Sen Jim Peterson (D, Dist 4) are the prime sponsors. This bill passed House Ed 15-0 and the House floor 68-1. This bill should pass easily. It will allow the Big Stone City school avoid consolidation. It’s ties with a MN school district would allow it to stay open under this bill as long as the school keeps the ratio of students for the grades offer within guidelines of a K-12 school.

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