Updated: Read Rep Nelson’s remarks in the comments. I missed the fact he went before the house and tried to smoke the bill out. It failed.
Earlier today I blogged about nullification gaining mainstream support. As I look back at the 2013 South Dakota Legislative Session I see an example of an attempted nullification law: House Bill 1222. The description of this bill is:
provide that any federal law that attempts to ban firearms, to limit the size of firearm magazines, or to impose other limitations on firearms is unenforceable in South Dakota, to provide a penalty, and to declare an emergency.
On February 13 Representative Nelson went before the State Affairs committee to submit an amendment and speak about this bill. The amendment (which is not listed on the bill’s website) would have changed this bill to apply only in cases of Presidential Executive Orders. This is because most of this bill already exists in South Dakota Codified Law and this new bill was meant to expand the current law so they apply to executive orders. As Rep. Nelson stated during his testimony, Executive Orders have been used extensively during the last fifty to sixty years as a way for Presidents to get around constitutional limits. Bills such as this are a way for states to tell the President that such behavior is not OK.
I personally like one part of the original bill and think it should have been passed by itself: “The attorney general may defend a citizen of South Dakota who is prosecuted by the United States government for violation of a federal law relating to the manufacture, sale, transfer, or possession of a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition owned or manufactured and retained exclusively within the borders of South Dakota.”
Ironically the Governors Office sent someone to testify against this bill. This goes back to a post I created a few months ago: South Dakota Governor Daugaard and US President Obama Agree: Balance of Power is Annoying. It’s also ironic that the opposition highlighted the fact the attorney general would be required to uphold the law? Isn’t that the job of the attorney generals office? Do we really want an attorney general’s office that does not wish to protect the rights of South Dakota citizens in court?
Unfortunately this bill was killed in committee by deferring it to the 41st legislative day. I think this issue deserved debate before the whole house, and not just within the State Affairs Committee. Perhaps we will see another attempt of this sort in the 2014 legislative session. It will be interesting to see a nullification law pass directed specifically at executive orders.
As a part of National School Choice Week I published a post today advocating open enrollment. I also looked at an open enrollment related piece of legislation in the South Dakota Senate: SB96 School district low enrollment restructuring requirement changes. I see a post over at MadvilleTimes highlighting another open enrollment bill I missed. SD Senate Bill 197 was not actually filed under “education” so missed it. This bill is labeled: “An Act to revise the calculation of the small school adjustment in the state aid to education formula.”
This bill is too long to post here. However the text of the bill can be read here. The bill is split into three section. Here is my take on each of the three sections:
SB197 Section 1
Section 1 of this bill modifies section (2C) South Dakota Statute § 13-13-10.1 Section 2C defines how a school qualifies for a “Small school adjustment”. Basically the amendment proposed by this bill would do the following:
- If a student BOTH resides in AND is enrolled in a school district that qualifies for a “small school adjustment”, the actual “small school adjustment” for that student will be counted in the district the student RESIDES in, and not the district they are actually enrolled in.
- That makes no sense. The student should be counted where he/she actually goes to school.
- If a student EITHER resides in OR is enrolled in a school district that does not qualify for a “small school adjustment”, there will be no small school adjustment allowed for that student.
- Again, that makes no sense. If a student resides in a “large” school district and chooses to enroll in a small school district that student will not count towards the enrolled schools “small school adjustment”.
SB197 Section 2
Section 2 of this bill modifies South Dakota Statute § 13-13-73 ((2)(b) & (2)(c)). This section basically makes sure the calculation of state aid to education for each school district under the foundation program uses the new rules set in Section 1 of this bill.
SB197 Section 3
Section 3 of the bill states the statute will become effective on July 1, 2014.
At a glance it appears this bill is a sneaky way to prevent small school districts from competing with large school districts in open enrollment. It also appears to give preference to a students residence over where the student is enrolled when two small school districts are involved. I’ll have to keep an eye on this bill so I can hear the Legislators debate. Maybe I’m missing something and this isn’t as bad of a bill as it seems.
But if I am reading this bill correctly it must be defeated, it appears to be an attack on open enrollment.
Today as a part of National School Choice Week I published a post advocating some benefits of open enrollment. To complement my prior post I thought it relevant to look at a bill before the South Dakota Senate regarding open enrollment. SD Senate Bill 96 is labeled: “An Act to exempt certain school districts from the requirement to reorganize due to low enrollment.”
Basically SB96 will amend South Dakota Statute § 13-6-97. Here is the text of SB96:
FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to exempt certain school districts from the requirement to reorganize due to low enrollment.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Section 1. That § 13-6-97 be amended to read as follows:
13-6-97. Any school district that has a fall enrollment, as defined in § 13-13-10.1, of less than one hundred and is not a sparse school district, as defined in § 13-13-78, shall reorganize with another school district or school districts to create a newly reorganized school district with a fall enrollment of one hundred or greater.
Any school district that is not sparse and has a fall enrollment of one hundred or less on July 1, 2007, shall prepare a plan for reorganization by June 30, 2009. After July 1, 2007, if the fall enrollment of any school district that is not sparse falls to one hundred or below, that school district shall prepare a plan for reorganization within two years. If any such district fails to prepare a plan for reorganization by the deadline, the Board of Education shall prepare a reorganization plan for the district. However, the provisions of this section do not apply to any school district that receives no foundation program state aid distributed pursuant to chapter 13-13, and that is located at least twenty-five miles from the nearest high school in an adjoining school district in the state. The provisions of this section also do not apply to any school district that is a part of a consortium of school districts exercising joint powers pursuant to chapter 1-24 or intergovernmental cooperation in education pursuant to chapter 13-15 for the purposes stated in § 13-8-1.
This bill appears to do two things:
- It removes outdated language that no longer applies.
- I adds another exception. School districts that have banded together with other school districts as a “consortium” are exempt from reorganization due to low enrollment numbers.
That seems straight-forward enough. Yet I wonder if a school district becomes that small shouldn’t alternatives be considered. Would it make more financial sense that a school district that has such low enrollment actually be combined with a different school district? Is a consortium being used to protect school districts from having to reorganize? If this bill is being passed to “protect small school districts” instead of finding the right solution I am opposed to it.
Even though I have many questions I am still undecided about this bill. However I do wonder if this is the right solution to a problem; or is it a way for school districts to sidestep unwanted (but possibly necessary) restructuring. I will look forward to hearing any debate they have in Pierre about this bill.