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House Commerce has HB 1067 on Weds Feb 10 at a special time

February 9, 2016 Comments off

4289963On Wednesday, February 10, at 3:45 pm, or 14 minutes after session, the SD House Commerce and Energy committee will take on 1 bill. This is compiled using the agenda at the time of composing this post. Agendas can and do change!

One way to listen to these meetings live is via the audio links on the Schedule page of the LRC website. While there you can also view the status board for the meetings as they are going on.

*** Take note of the special time of this meeting!

HB 1067 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Promote quality, competition, and freedom of choice in the health insurance market place.s

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Rep Tim Rounds (R, Dist 24) and Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors.

Testimony for this bill has already been taken. This will be part 2 of testimony and at a special time. It has also changed to a different room due to the amount of people who showed up for the first meeting.

I am still very undecided about this bill.

Here is what I said about the bill before:

This is a hot one. This appears to be an attempt to overturn IM 17, which was passed by the voters in 2014. At that time I thought IM 17 was a bad law, and still do. But I do question whether it is reasonable to mandate a change to an IM that was used as a mandate to overrule other mandates. That is just a nightmare situation. Over at Dakota War College there are some posts on this subject from Pat Powers.

At this time I’m leaning against this bill. But I’ll have to listen to testimony.

There is a note at the bottom of the agenda which states:

Committee will hear initial testimony on HB1067. Final committee action will take place on February 10 at 3:45 pm or 15 minutes after session in Room 414.

That is an odd move…

Monday, Jan 11, the Joint Appropriations committee has a meeting

January 10, 2016 Comments off

21188608.thbTomorrow, Monday, Jan 11, the interim Joint Appropriations committee will meet. This is one day before the South Dakota 2016 legislative session begins. The meeting starts at 8:30 am and the agenda can be viewed here.

Anyone that plans to follow the appropriations process this session will probably want to tune into this meeting. Commissioner Jason Dilges, Bureau of Finance and Management, will give a presentation on the following items:

FY2016 (Current Year) Budget Adjustments

Ongoing Revenue Estimates
One-time Revenue Estimates
Revenue Summary
Supplemental Appropriations Items
Recommended Special Appropriations
FY2016 Revised Bottom Line

FY2017 Budget Adjustments

Ongoing Revenue Projections
Ongoing General Fund Proposals
Budget Recommendations by Agency
FY2017 Bottom Line

Death Penalty repeal will be a focus for 2016, a look back at 2015

December 14, 2015 1 comment
Death row © Christianm | Dreamstime.com

Death row © Christianm | Dreamstime.com

This last Saturday I attended a forum in Sioux Falls hosted by South Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. The event had a panel that looked at the Human Face of the Death Penalty. Over the next couple of weeks I will have video and blog posts coming out of that event. The progress of death penalty repeal legislation will be a focus on this blog during the 2016 session.

Before doing the posts coming out of the death penalty forum or looking at 2016, I will take a few moments to look at the legislation brought forth in 2015. None of the four bills made it out of committee.

HB 1158 – Victims opposition to the death penalty

HB 1158 (SoDakLiberty Posts) was prime sponsored by Rep Steve Hickey (who later in the year resigned to study abroad) and Sen Billie Sutton (D, Dist 21).

This was a bill I thought might actually make it through committee. SD codified law 23A-27A-2 defines the relevant evidence a jury will be presented with during a presentence hearing that involves the death penalty. The fourth and final relevant evidence includes the following:

(4)    All evidence concerning any mitigating circumstances,

HB 1158 would have added the following:

(4)    All evidence concerning any mitigating circumstances, including documented evidence of the victim’s opposition to the death penalty and testimony from the victim’s family that the defendant’s life be spared.

Personally I find it almost stunning that the wishes of the victim or the victim’s family would not even be presented during the presentencing hearing. During committee testimony for the bill Hickey had said “The victims voice, I think, is the starting point in the consideration of the sentencing in a death penalty.” He noted the victims wishes do not have to be granted according to the bill he brought forth. All this bill really would have done is let the jury know the wishes of the victim and/or the victim’s family. Allowing this would not necessarily change the outcome. I agree with Hickey that the victims voice should be heard during the hearing and I find it to be an injustice that this doesn’t happen.

The bill was killed by the House State Affairs committee by a vote of 10-2.

HB 1159 – Opposition to death penalty on ID card

HB 1159 (SoDakLiberty Posts) also had Rep Hickey and Sen Sutton as the prime sponsors.

This is a bill I never thought would make it through committee, and was glad to see it defeated. I personally am against the death penalty, but I don’t think this was a good solution. The bill can be best summarized in the first sentence of the bill:

A person, eighteen years of age or older, may express personal opposition to the death penalty by checking the box on the driver license or identification card application.

Hickey had offered an amendment that would have fixed some of the issues that were possible with the legislation as proposed. I don’t think that was enough from my perspective. Personally I think the state already does too much data collection, especially by the DMV. There are other ways for victims to get their wishes known without involving a driver’s license. During the death penalty repeal forum I recently attended one of the panelists showed a card that can be carried around to serve the same function. I would also think that a signed document stored with a persons Will would also be a good alternative. Plus, without HB 1158 passing it made this bill fairly irrelevant.

The bill was killed by the House State Affairs committee by a vote of 10-2.

SB 121 – Real of the death penalty

SB 121 (SoDakLiberty Posts) was prime sponsored by Sen Bernie Hunhoff (D, Dist 18) and Rep Hickey.

Currently SD codified law 22-6-1 provides for the death penalty as one of possible punishments for a Class A felony (there are nine classes):

(1)      Class A felony: death or life imprisonment in the state penitentiary. A lesser sentence than death or life imprisonment may not be given for a Class A felony. In addition, a fine of fifty thousand dollars may be imposed;

This bill would have removed the death penalty and made a life imprisonment one without the possibility of parole. I thought Sen Hunhoff made a good case for passage of the bill during committee testimony when he made this statement:

Do we want a government so big, so powerful, that it can decide life and death. Can we be sure, if government has that much power, can we be sure there will never be an error in the justice system. I believe by last count there were a hundred and fifty exonerations, of people who were on death row and exonerated.

He also went on to talk about whether it is effective as a deterrent or ethical. Personally I do not want a government so powerful that it can make life or death decisions. That is particularly true for many of us that find the death penalty to be morally wrong. I will likely go further into this topic during the 2016 session as new bills are brought forth.

The bill was killed by the Senate State Affairs committee by a vote of 7-2.

SB 122 – Revise death penalty provisions.

SB 122 (SoDakLiberty Posts) was also prime sponsored by Sen Hunhoff and Rep Hickey.

SB 122 is a bill I thought maybe had more of a chance than SB 122. Instead of repealing the death penalty, this bill would also add the requirement that:

A finding that the defendant is too dangerous to be incarcerated and is an ongoing danger to the public and the prison community.

That requirement would have to be met during the presentencing trial along with current requirements of at least one aggravating circumstance and a recommendation that the death sentence be imposed. Personally I would rather a full repeal of the death penalty, but at least this bill would have created a hurdle that would cause fewer people put to death by the State of South Dakota. Considering how many death row inmates have been exonerated nationwide, I can’t understand why this bill did not make it out of committee.

The bill was killed by the Senate State Affairs committee by a vote of 7-2.

PS. I almost forgot about one of the first posts I did on this blog explaining in part why I am opposed to the death penalty.

PPS. I also found another old post where I said this:

Gun control and reducing murder within our society has become a large debate topic recently. However at the same time we fail to debate whether the government should be allowed to kill people. The death penalty at its core is simply the taking of someone’s life for revenge. There is no justice or rehabilitation with the death penalty. There is only death.

River Basin Task Force meets today in Pierre

December 11, 2015 Comments off

Today at the 10:00am the River Basin Natural Resource District Oversight Advisory Task Force meets in Pierre for its third meeting. The agenda for this meeting can be viewed here. This will be the last River Basin Task Force meeting for 2015.

My post preceding the previous meeting can be found here.  The minutes from that meeting can be found here.

The documents for today’s meeting include draft maps of the proposed river basin districts. Here is the SD Map showing a draft of the nine proposed districts:

Draft of the SD River Basin Natural Resource Districts. Image from LRC website.

Draft of the SD River Basin Natural Resource Districts. Image from LRC website.

Each district shown above would then be split into three sub-districts. Since I live in Aberdeen I’ll show the draft James River Basin Natural Resource District:

Draft James River Basin Natural Resource District. Image from LRC website.

Draft James River Basin Natural Resource District. Image from LRC website.

Today the task force will review the maps. Proponents of the new watershed districts have stated this is not a growth of government. But now that I look at the map I can’t help but wonder how it can’t be a growth of government. The task force proposes each district has a council composed of six members, two from each sub-district. Each council member will be elected during the 2018 election and server a 4 year term (although to begin with half will serve a two-year term so terms can be staggered). It is still too early to draw conclusions, but with a new layer of government being added and the likely taxing authority they will have, it is hard to imagine this won’t become a new bureaucracy to get in the way of the agricultural industry.

The draft legislation regarding the election of council members can be read here.

This is an issue worth watching during the 2016 legislative session to be sure!

Legislative Planning Committee Meeting on Dec 7

December 5, 2015 Comments off

Business-Meeting-300pxOn Monday, December 7, the Legislative Planning Committee will hold its fourth and final meeting on the South Dakota legislative interim session in Pierre. The last meeting was held on October 22.

The minutes from the October 22 meeting can be viewed here. Also, the documents from that meeting can be viewed here. This includes a presentation from the DOH. The only problem I have with the statistics in the presentation, is to wonder why so much of that data needs to be collected. South Dakota is definitely not conservative with its policies about collecting data on citizens.

The agenda for the December 7 meeting can be found here. Since it is a relatively short agenda I’ll also publish it here:

  • 1:00 p.m. Call to Order
    Determination of Quorum
    Approval of Minutes – October 22nd meeting
    Opening Remarks
  • 1:15 p.m. Efforts to enhance educational opportunities for adult inmates
    • Jennifer Stanwick-Klimek, Deputy Warden, Mike Durfee State Prison
    • Tiffany Sanderson, Director, Division of Career and Technical Education, SD Department of Education
  • 1:45 p.m. Wrap-up on benchmarks and performance measures for postsecondary career and technical education
    • Tiffany Sanderson
  • 2:00 p.m. Review of benchmarks and performance measures for the SD Department of Health
    • Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary, SD Department of Health
  • 2:45 p.m. Public Testimony
    Interim Wrap-up
  • 3:15 p.m. Adjourn

Executive Board meeting on Monday, Nov 16

November 13, 2015 Comments off
SD House Votes display. Apparently I never took a pic of the other display. Photo by Ken Santema

SD House Votes display. Apparently I never took a pic of the other display. Photo by Ken Santema

On Monday, November 16, the SD Legislative Executive Board will meet in Pierre. At the end of the meeting the board will adjourn and gavel back in as the Bonding Committee. The Executive Board agenda can be viewed here and the Bonding Committee agenda can be viewed here.

Here are some areas of interest going into the meetings:

New House Display Screen Demo (House Chambers)

I’ve heard this item come up a few times in committee meetings this interim session. At the Aug 24 Exec meeting it was reported the display was installed, but there was some work to be done for it to be fully functional. By this time it should be ready to go.

Back in April 27 the Exec committee approved the new display for the House. It was chosen not to get a display for the Senate, but that is an option for the future. The new display for the House, along with new voting software, is supposed to “provide more accurate information more quickly to the Legislators and to the general public using the internet. ” Personally I’m looking forward to seeing how that will assist what I do as a blogger during the 2016 legislative session.

Legislative Ethics Seminar

Rep Lee Schoenbeck (R, Dist 5) will give a report on a recent ethics presentation he attended in Minneapolis. Bob Mercer has a story on Schoenbeck giving his presentation to the board. I think it is great when I see a legislator sharing knowledge gained at seminars, especially on such an important topic…

Interim Committee Reports

This is probably the main reason I will be listening to this meeting. I have mostly kept up with other committees, but this will hopefully provide a good summary of what has transpired during the legislative summer vacation.

Bonding Reports

The Bonding Committee will receive annual reports on the following bonds:

  • South Dakota Housing Development Authority
  • South Dakota Conservancy District
  • South Dakota Value Added Finance Authority
  • South Dakota Economic Development Finance Authority
  • South Dakota Building Authority
  • South Dakota Health and Educational Facilities Authority

Rules Review meeting in Pierre today

November 9, 2015 Comments off

Today, November 9, the  Legislative Rules Review Committee will hold its regular meeting in Pierre. The minutes and documents from previous meetings this interim session can be viewed here.  The meeting is going on as I write this post.

Below are the rules being reviewed in the November 9 meeting according to the agenda.

*** Whenever possible I’ve included a link to the rule being discussed on the Rules.SD.gov website (make sure you have popups disabled for this site in your browser). Another place to look for more information is to search through the register archive. For this post though I have tried to find things in Rules.SD.gov or through the agency website relating to that rule. I am trying to see how easy the State Government is making it to actually get info.

Department of Game, Fish and Parks

The proposed administrative rule changes will: 1) amend general definitions in rule changing “Black Hills Trout Management Area” to “Black Hills Fish Management Area”, declare white bass a rough fish, 2) modify “Fish Limits” rules, 3) modify rules for paddlefish snagging & spearing, 4) amend mountain lion season rules to set the harvest limit & establish nonresident mountain lion hunting licenses, 5) modify bobcat season rules to include additional east river counties, and 6) amend rules for Bait & Private Hatcheries.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

I really haven’t had time to look through the proposed rule changes. For any hunters and fishers out there it might be worth reading the proposed changes.

Department of Transportation

Amend a Hughes County speed zone on U.S. Highway 14 and U.S. Highway 83 in Pierre beginning at Fourth Street northeasterly for .065 mile, 35 mph, then northeasterly for 3.2 miles, 55mph; and on U.S. Highway 14 and U.S. Highway 83 Truck Bypass in Pierre, beginning at the junction with State Trunk Highway 34, then north for 2.19 miles, 35 mph, then north to its junction with U.S. Highway 14 and U.S. Highway 83, 45 mph.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

For those living in the Pierre area this might be worth looking at.

Department of Education: Board of Education

Amend a Certification rule to increase educator certification application fees effective July 1, 2016, and clean up language in the section.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

There is a reason given for the educator certification application fee increase: “The reason for the changes to 24:15:03:05 is due to revenues not meeting the annual expenditures for certification-related expenses and the fund balance decreasing to a point that the fund will not be able to support the ongoing cost of these expenses.”

I find it odd that at the same time the legislature is looking at increasing teacher pay through new taxes that the Board of Education wants to put more financial burden on teachers.

Department of Labor and Regulation: Division of Insurance

Amend rules to update the insurance holding companies reporting requirements and amend rules regarding certificates of creditable coverage.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

Another one I haven’t had the time to read.

Department of Revenue: Commission on Gaming

Amend Gaming rules to add a definition for House Banked Table Games; add new versions of blackjack to the list of authorized blackjack games; include within the authorized games of poker new games adopted by the Commission; authorize a variation of Mississippi Stud poker; create a new variation of poker known as Flushes Gone Wild; and create a variation of poker known as Hot Poker Spot.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

I really didn’t realize there were so many different types of blackjack. Thew new ones are called: Dead Man’s Hand blackjack, War blackjack, Lucky Lucky blackjack, and Free Bet blackjack. That is in addition to the ten that already exist. Personally I think this level of regulation for gaming is just silly! Let the casinos decide what game to use…

Department of Health: Board of Dentistry

Amend rules to remove obsolete provisions and references; update references; update permits to administer general anesthesia and 3 deep sedation, moderate sedation, nitrous oxide inhalation analgesia, local anesthesia and permits to monitor patients under anesthesia or sedation; require continued competency for anesthesia and sedation permit holders; update rules related to contracting with licensed anesthesia providers; allow a dentist that holds a general anesthesia and deep sedation or moderate sedation permit to authorize a dental hygienist, registered dental assistant or dental assistant operating under direct visual supervision to inject medication pursuant to a verbal command and set forth the requirements for this authorization to occur; and update the anesthesia credentials committee.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

I don’t really have anything to say about this one. This meeting just has too many areas outside of my knowledge area…

Office of the State Auditor

Repeal a rule regarding the minimum amount guidelines for electronic fund transfers evaluated by the Office of the State Auditor

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule does not exist. I did find this in theSeptember 8, 2015, register. I really think an office that at least in part is about transparency should make sure rule changes proposed from that department are listed on Rules.SD.gov.

Department Health: Division of Health and Medical Services

Adds Coccidioidomycosis, Leptospirosis, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Chikungunya, Colorado Tick Fever, Lead (elevated blood levels in children and adults), Silicosis, Carbon monoxide poisoning and Pesticide-related illness and injury, acute to the South Dakota Reportable Disease list.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

I’m actually surprised some groups aren’t out there speaking against this change. There was a lot of opposition to HB 1058 (SoDakLiberty Posts) this year and this is a rule change for reportable diseases.

PS. Speaking of dentists. This immediately comes to mind:

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