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House Taxation has 4 bills on Thurs Jan 28

January 26, 2016 Comments off

14640657On Thursday, Jan 28th, at 7:45 AM the SD House Taxation committee will take on 4 bills. This is compiled using the agenda at the time of composing this post. Agendas can and do change!

HB 1083 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Change the taxation method used in the sale of certain off-road vehicles and require that the sale of these vehicles be by licensed vehicle dealers.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Rep Jim Stalzer (R, Dist 11) and Sen Bruce Rampelberg (R, Dist 30) are the prime sponsors.

This bill would treat certain off-road vehicles just like motorcycles for tax and dealer license purposes. Not sure what is driving this bill…

HB 1086 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Create a leased residential property classification.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Rep Don Haggar (R, Dist 10) and Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors.

This bill was brought forth last year as SB 100 (SoDakLiberty Posts), which passed both houses, but was then vetoed by the Governor. I am going to wait until listening to committee testimony before going in-depth into this bill. But my initial thoughts are the same as they were last year with this bill: I see this as a back-door attempt to raise property taxes for leased residential landowners in the future, even though it is being sold as the opposite.

HB 1097 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Exempt certain taxes and fees from the gross receipts tax on telecommunications services.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Rep Don Haggar (R, Dist 10) and Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors.

I don’t see a problem with this bill. It prevents a tax from being taxed. But I’ll have to listen to testimony to ensure I understand the bill correctly. The bill also seems familiar, will have to research previous years.

HB 1098 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain provisions regarding the exemption of motor vehicles from the motor vehicle excise tax.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Rep Jim Bolin (R, Dist 16) and Sen Jenna Haggar (R, Dist 10) are the prime sponsors.

One of the exemptions from vehicle excise tax is for a motor vehicle that is 11 or more model years old and is sold or transferred for $2,200 or less.  This bill would change that to $2,500 or less. I don’t see a problem with that change.

Only one of three vetoes were overturned by the SD legislature

April 1, 2015 1 comment

On Monday, March 30, the SD legislature held the final day of the 2015 session. The whole purpose of this final day was to consider any gubernatorial vetoes. I’ve blogged about the three bills vetoed before (and a cliff note version here). SB 136 was the only bill of the three to have the veto overturned. SB 100 and SB 159 both had the veto sustained.

Here are the three bills that were considered for a veto override and how they ended up:

SD SenateSB 100 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Create a leased residential property classification.

Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) and Rep Don Haggar (R, Dist 10) are the prime sponsors. Sen Peters pushed hard on the Senate floor to override the governor’s veto of SB 100. She framed it as a way to look at whether government is getting in the way of affordable housing. She also noted that SB 100 doesn’t actually change the tax rate for leased residential property in its current form. That would have to be a discussion for a future legislature once enough data was collected from this new classification. Most of the opposition to this bill seemed to stem from a belief that property tax savings would not be passed on to tenants, thus it wouldn’t do anything for affordable housing anyhow.

The Senate failed to override the governor’s veto. 24 yes votes were needed and the final roll call vote ended up 22-10. Personally I was happy to see this one fail. Yes this was being touted as a way to possibly decrease taxes on leased residential property. But other states have taken such moves and actually implemented systems that do the opposite. Plus, in order for this bill to work it would have required all of the landlords across the state to change the classification of their property just so the state could collect data. I find it quite unlikely that would happen.

SB 136 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Exclude certain municipal taxes from the gross receipts used to determine the tax liability for customers served by electric cooperatives and electric utilities.

Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23) and Rep Al Novstrup (R, Dist 3) are the prime sponsors. SB 136 is an odd bill to talk about. It has to do with how taxes are applied to certain electric cooperatives and certain municipalities. Sen Brown didn’t really spend too much time talking about the bill. It had passed overwhelmingly the first time through the Senate, and there was nobody speaking on the governors behalf to sustain the veto. The Senate voted 31-1 to overturn the governor’s veto.

On the House side it was up to Rep Novstrup to push for the veto override. He pushed the fact that the Revenue Department was imposing a tax on a tax. There weren’t any Representatives that stood to speak on behalf of sustaining the governor’s veto. The veto override passed through the House by a vote of 63-1. That made SB 136 the only successful veto override of the 2015 legislative session.

Sen Tidemann asking Sen Greenfield a question about SB 159. Photo by Ashton Santema 03/30/15.

Sen Tidemann asking Sen Greenfield a question about SB 159. Photo by Ken Santema 03/30/15.

SB 159 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Exempt certain amateur sports coaches from sales and use tax.

Sen Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2) and Rep Tona Rozum (R, Dist 20) are the prime sponsors. I thought Sen Greenfield made a pretty good case as to why the veto should be overridden. He noted it was through a reinterpretation of tax law by bureaucrats that these coaches suddenly were subject to sales tax. It was also noted that the only amateur coaches impacted by this bill would be for the American Legion and VFW leagues. Greenfield noted it has been harder and harder for these organizations to find coaches, and that between self-employment taxes and sales taxes it is getting even harder. Many of the other Senators speaking on behalf of the bill focused on the good that baseball programs do for the youth in SD.

The Senate vote for the veto override of SB 159 was 21-11. That was three short of the 24 votes needed for a veto override. I will admit I didn’t really care one way or the other about the bill. But I think in Greenfield’s final push to override the veto he made a good case and that this veto probably should have been overridden.

SD Senate and House have three veto’s to consider on Mon March 30

March 29, 2015 2 comments
SD State capital. Photo by Ken Santema 02/11/15.

SD State capital. Photo by Ken Santema 02/11/15.

Monday, March 30, is the final legislative day in 2015. Both the House and Senate will convene at 10:00 AM to consider whether to override Governor Daugaard’s veto of three bills. I‘ve blogged about the three vetoes before. Here is the cliff note version of each bill:

SB 100 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Create a leased residential property classification.

Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) and Rep Don Haggar (R, Dist 10) are the prime sponsors.

This bill creates a new property tax classification of leased residential property. Technically the bill in its current form is a way for the state to collect data about how many leased residential properties there are in the state so that data can be used to push for a new tax levy in the future. This would theoretically allow for lower property taxes that can be passed on to families struggling to pay their rent. That is what proponents of the bill were saying. Personally I believe the bill would have done the opposite long-term. Long-term I believe this classification change would open up the door to property taxes per unit when dealing with rental situations. That could end up being one heck of a large tax increase. In a state where there are few sources of revenue, this bill could open a Pandora’s box of new revenue enhancements.

SB 136 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Exclude certain municipal taxes from the gross receipts used to determine the tax liability for customers served by electric cooperatives and electric utilities.

Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23) and Rep Al Novstrup (R, Dist 3) are the prime sponsors. This bill would prevent a tax from being taxed. I really don’t understand the Governor’s veto of the bill. It just doesn’t align with how I am reading the bill. Perhaps I just haven’t studied this particular bill enough.

SB 159 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Exempt certain amateur sports coaches from sales and use tax.

Sen Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2) and Rep Tona Rozum (R, Dist 20) are the prime sponsors. This bill is actually pretty simple. It exempts amateur baseball coaches from Sales and Use Tax if the team is a 501(c)(19) non-profit. I believe it may have been harder for Daugaard to veto if it hadn’t been specific to one certain type of amateur coach.

3 bills vetoed by Governor Daugaard on March 20

March 20, 2015 5 comments
Sen Brock Greenfield speaking on the SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/16/15.

Sen Brock Greenfield speaking on the SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/16/15.

Today, March 20, Governor Daugaard finally decided which bills he felt were worthy of a veto. He sent out releases about his veto of SB 100, veto of SB 136, and veto of SB 159.

None of these are the bills was I was truly hoping would be vetoed (although I am happy to see SB 100 get a veto). It almost seems like Daugaard looks for bills to veto that most people really don’t care about…

SB 100 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Create a leased residential property classification.

Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) and Rep Don Haggar (R, Dist 10) are the prime sponsors. This bill passed Senate Taxation 4-3. It was amended on the Senate floor to remove the new levy for this classification. The amended version of the bill passed 25-8. The bill had a slight amendment in House Taxation and passed that committee 10-5 and the House floor 40-27. The Senate concurred 25-8 to the changes made in the House.

This bill would have created a new property tax classification of leased residential property. Technically the bill in its current form is a way for the state to collect data about how many leased residential properties there are in the state so that data can be used to push for a new tax levy in the future. This would theoretically allow for lower property taxes that can be passed on to families struggling to pay their rent. That is what proponents of the bill were saying. Personally I believe the bill have done the opposite long-term. Long-term I believe this classification change would open up the door to property taxes per unit when dealing with rental situations. That could end up being one heck of a large tax increase. It has happened in other states

Additionally I don’t think enough property owners would go down to the County office and change the classification of their property just so the state can collect data. In its current form, this bill really doesn’t incentive property owners into going through the trouble of changing their property tax classification.

This is a bill I am more than happy to see the Governor veto. He did it more for the reasons stated in his release:

Senate Bill 100 is a first step toward a different property tax levy for leased residential property – a change that will shift the property tax burden onto agricultural, nonagricultural, and owner-occupied property taxpayers, without any guarantee of savings for residents of leased properties.  For that reason, I oppose this bill and I ask that you sustain my veto.

He is correct, if fully implemented in the future this bill would shift tax burden. I just don’t think it would have stayed beneficial. I don’t see the legislature overriding this veto.

SB 136 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Exclude certain municipal taxes from the gross receipts used to determine the tax liability for customers served by electric cooperatives and electric utilities.

Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23) and Rep Al Novstrup (R, Dist 3) are the prime sponsors. This bill was gutted by Senate Tax. It passed the committee 6-1 after being hoghoused. The new bill seems to do about the same thing, just in a different way. It was then gutted again on the Senate floor, and language similar to the original bill was hoghoused into it. The re-hoghoused bill passed the Senate floor 32-0. It had a couple of amendments in House Tax and passed that committee 12-0. It then had a title amendment on the House floor to reflect the changes made in House Tax and passed 67-1. The Senate concurred with the House changes 34-0.

Basically this looks like a good bill. It prevents a tax from being taxed. The Governor gave this reason for his veto:

Senate Bill 136 would create a special exemption for rural electric companies that no other South Dakota business is given.  It would allow a rural electric company to deduct its payment in lieu of property taxes from its gross receipts before paying state and municipal sales tax.

Creating this special dispensation is contrary to the broad based sales tax principles that are the foundation of South Dakota’s sales tax, the primary source of state government funds, and could easily lead to other businesses requesting similar exemptions in future years.

South Dakota should not create a special tax calculation rule for rural electric companies that no other South Dakota business is given.  I oppose this bill and I ask that you sustain my veto.

I am going to have to research this bill a little bit more. Perhaps my understanding of this particular piece of legislation is wrong. It doesn’t match up with Daugaard’s assessment. The bill passed through both chambers strong enough that a veto override is possible. The question is whether the legislators actually have the guts to do so.

SB 159 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Exempt certain amateur sports coaches from sales and use tax.

Sen Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2) and Rep Tona Rozum (R, Dist 20) are the prime sponsors. This bill had a bit of a journey in the Senate. It originally failed a Do Pass vote in Senate Taxation 3-3, after another member came back to the committee it passed Senate Taxation 4-3. It then failed on the Senate floor 17-15. At the time the prime sponsor Sen Greenfield was out with an injury. Then came a vote to reconsider, which passed 28-3. Finally with Sen Greenfield back it passed the Senate floor 22-13. When it hit House Taxation it passed 10-2 and the House floor passed it 63-5.

This bill is actually pretty simple. It exempts amateur baseball coaches from Sales and Use Tax if the team is a 501(c)(19) non-profit.

Here is part of the reason given by Daugaard for the veto:

Exemptions to the sales tax base, such as Senate Bill 159, erode the sales tax base and diminish a steady, reliable source of revenue for our State.  Senate Bill 159’s exemption benefits a select group and could lead to additional exemption requests in the future.  We must resist any attempt to erode the sales tax base and must work to keep the sales tax base as broad, and therefore as stable, as possible.

In addition, Senate Bill 159’s exemption creates a privilege to the amateur baseball teams sponsored by select organizations, specifically American Legion and VFW organizations. While I admire these organizations and appreciate the work they do, it is bad tax policy to exempt coaches in these organizations, while continuing to tax other amateur baseball coaches

I must say I really never cared one way or the other about this bill. Personally I think the legislature should just let this veto stand. Let Sen Greenfield come back next year with a less specific coach exemption. There will still likely be resistance to the bill from the Governor, but at least he won’t be able to say it was because only a certain type of coach was targeted.

Bills on the SD House floor for Tues Mar 10

March 10, 2015 1 comment
SD House Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15.

SD House Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15.

Here are the bills on the SD House floor for Tuesday, March 10. This is the last day that bills can pass the second chamber. To make sure they can get through the calendar, this session begins at the special time of 10:00 AM! This is a LONG list, but some of this will actually go pretty quick, with little or no actual floor debate.

CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

Amended HJ 34th LD: SB 1, SB 99, SB 106, SB 39, SB 52, SB 53, SB 54, SB 55, SB 91, SB 92,
SB 109, SB 152, SB 174, SB 176, SB 181

SECOND READING OF CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS

SB 65 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain procedures regarding campaign finance disclosure statements.

SB 66 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions regarding the county renaming process.

SB 67 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions regarding challenges to certain election petition signatures.

SB 125 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise the minimum suspension requirements for students participating in extracurricular activities.

SECOND READING OF SENATE BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

SB 64 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions regarding the registration of business names.

Removed from Consent Calendar

This bill was amended in Senate Local Government committee to remove the references to “for-profit” and “nonprofit” and just saying business (which would include both kinds already). The bill was also amended to remove the Class 2 misdemeanor for failing to file a fictitious name statement. The amended bill passed Senate Local Government 6-1. As amended this appears to be a good bill. It basically treats all businesses the same under this law. The bill passed on the Senate floor 32-1 and House State Affairs 13-0. I like the bill. It ensures nonprofits have to follow the same fictitious name filing rules as other businesses.

SB 132 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Allow school districts to recruit teachers by providing certain financial incentives.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed Senate Ed 4-1. It was amended on the Senate floor and passed 26-7. The amendment on the Senate floor took away the incentives for current teachers. This bill was amended last week in House Ed. The amendment allows a school district to negotiate through a teacher’s designated collective bargaining representative. However the language is permissive. Meaning the school district doesn’t have to work through a union for this incentive if it doesn’t want to. The amended bill passed through House Ed 11-3. This bill shouldn’t have any problems passing the House floor.

SB 134 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Prohibit minor boundary changes for one year, to establish the school district boundary task force, and to declare an emergency.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This was a hoghouse vehicle bill. It passed through the Senate without opposition after Senate State Affairs filled the bill with its actual content. It was slightly amended in House Ed and passed that committee 14-0. Section 2 of the bill explains the purpose of this task force pretty well:

There is hereby established the school district boundary task force. The task force shall examine the boundaries of the existing school districts and recommend possible changes to those school district boundaries. The task force will also recommend a process for addressing minor boundary changes in the future once the moratorium established in section 1 of this Act has ended. The task force will not discuss or make any recommendations regarding school district reorganization.

SB 154 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Require that certain employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs be veterans.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed the Senate with no opposition. It was slightly amended in House Judiciary and passed that committee 12-1. This bill would require the “state veterans service officer or state fieldmen veterans service officer shall be a veteran who has served in the armed forces of the United States and is a citizen of the United States”. It then says all other employees of the Dept of VA shall be veterans if available. I can understand giving preference to veterans for these jobs. But I really can’t see a provision that says a veteran must fill these positions. That just isn’t good policy.

SB 131 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Establish certain provisions regarding stray electrical current and voltage remediation.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed through the Senate  and through House Ag without opposition. This has been an interesting bill to listen to, I’ve learned a lot. It seems the bill is set to give a process for dairy producers and electricity providers to settle stray voltage disputes (something I had not heard about before). If the farmer believes stray voltage has negatively impacted a cow, then the PUC would be brought in. There are provisions built-in to make sure neither side of the dispute are doing so in bad faith. It is an interesting bill, and should pass the House easily.

SB 178 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain programs and authorize certain projects in the Unified Judicial System and to make an appropriation therefor.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed through the Senate and through House Appropriations without opposition. This bill appropriates $500,000 from the Unified Judicial System court automation fund to the Unified Judicial System for the purpose of providing incentive payments to attorneys participating in the rural attorney assistance program. The bill also increases the number of attorneys that can participate in the program from 16 to 32. The bill also has an appropriation of $300,000 for renovating the Supreme Court law library in the state capitol building. Another $100,000 is appropriated to award grants to counties for projects related to the improvement of courthouse security. Then another $400,000 to help address the negative cash balance in the law enforcement officers training fund.

SB 179 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions relating to record search fees in the Unified Judicial System.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This passed Senate Appropriations 7-1 and the Senate floor 31-0 and House Appropriations 8-0. This bill appears to increase the fee from $15 to $20. That extra $5 would go directly to the law enforcement officers’ training fund.

SB 180 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions regarding the production tax for wind energy facilities and to declare an emergency.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill was amended in Senate Commerce and Energy and passed that committee 7-0. It passed the Senate floor 32-2. It was then hoghoused in House Taxation and passed that committee 14-0. This bill would basically change how wind energy facilities are taxed. Currently they are taxed in a way that makes them noncompetitive compared to neighboring states. This bill would allow SD to compete in the wind energy industry. The new version of the bill also has an emergency clause, so it could take effect immediately after being signed into law.

SB 100 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Create a leased residential property classification.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed Senate Taxation 4-3. It was amended on the Senate floor to remove the new levy for this classification. The amended version of the bill passed. 25-8. This bill would remove the classification non-agricultural acreage and create a new property tax classification of leased residential property. The bill had a slight amendment in House Taxation and passed that committee 10-5. This is a bill I don’t like.

Technically the bill in its current form is a way for the state to collect data about how many leased residential properties there are in the state so it can be determined if property tax changes can be made. This would theoretically allow for lower property taxes that can be passed on to families struggling to pay their rent. Personally I believe the bill would do the opposite long-term. Long-term I believe this classification change would open up the door to property taxes per unit when dealing with rental situations. That could end up being one heck of a large tax increase.

Additionally I don’t think enough property owners will go down to the County office and change the classification of their property just so the state can collect data. It is a bad bill that should just go away.

SB 68 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Provide for a random sampling of nominating petition signatures for statewide offices.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill flew through the Senate and through House State Affairs without a no vote. The 5% sampling this bill calls for may have headed off some of the troubles encountered during the 2014 election.

SB 51 – SoDakLiberty PostsRepeal the contingency funds available for unanticipated costs related to medical services and to declare an emergency.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed the Senate and then House Appropriations without opposition. This was in the governor’s budget address. ACA has made this contingency fund unnecessary.

SB 73 – SoDakLiberty PostsImprove public safety regarding juvenile justice.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed the Senate and House State Affairs with no opposition. This is part of the Governors and Chief Justices initiative to reform SD’s horrendous juvenile incarceration rates. This bill would mirror some of the steps taken to reform the incarceration rates for adults. Parts of this bill has some good ideas and changes. But until the state actually looks at reducing the number of victim-less offenses that are crimes, there will continue to be an outrageous number of people in SD locked up for no reason. But having said that, I do think this bill provides an improvement over what is currently.

SB 69SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions regarding elections and election petitions.

This is the bill that keeps going downhill. I can’t even think of how to summarize it. So here is what I said before the bill hit House State Affairs:

And now it is time to look at the bill I wish would go away. It is sad to say that about a bill I originally supported (even if I had some slight reservations about portions of it).

This bill comes as a request of the SD State Board of Elections. It was amended in Senate State Affairs and passed that committee 7-2. After passing through committee I wrote a post focused on one problem with the bill: it ignores the fact that SD has already admitted having early petition deadlines for Independent candidates is wrong.

There are other problems with the bill after being amended in Senate State Affairs however. Here are a few of the problems:

  • During testimony for the bill, the committee decided to tackle the problem of placeholder candidates. The bill was amended to add a section that would only allow a party committee to replace a candidate on the ballot under the four following scenarios: because of illness with two doctors notes, or there is no other nominee, or the candidate is appointed/elected somewhere else, or the candidate moves and swears to the SOS that they aren’t moving back…  I also hate placeholder candidates. But really? This amendment is NOT germane to the subject of this bill. It also has too many ambiguities to be realistic. I’ll stop talking about this particular amendment now..
  • In a sneaky move to make it harder for Independent candidates…. Another amendment changes election law so that those registered with a party affiliation cannot sign an independent candidates petition. Wow, this is an easy one to fix though. It might be time for people to change their registration from Republican or Democrat to being independent. Even if this amendment has good intentions (which I don’t believe), it is hard to image anyone can say that further restricting ballot access for independent candidates is nothing but an attempt to hold power by the current majority parties.
  • Of course the bill also has the change that all petitions must be received by the SOS on the deadline, instead of mailed certified by that time. For those in distant and remote districts that change can be HUGE.

The Senate State Affairs Committee was not the only place this bill was messed with

. The Senate floor had a couple of amendments. First there is an amendment further specifying details about the doctors form for a candidate to withdraw? Really? The second amendment on the Senate floor revises the signatures needed to gain ballot access from 1% of voters who voted for the party’s candidate, to 1% of the registered voters of that party (or non-party).

The amended bill passed the Senate floor 25-8. Too bad.

As I said before. I believe the petition process in SD needs to be changed, if not completely overhauled. But this doesn’t seem to be the way to do it. Perhaps this would be a good workgroup or taskforce during the 2015 summer. Then come to the 2016 legislative session with a full set of election changes that can be proposed. Right now the changes in SB 69 are purely focused on making things go smooth from the viewpoint of those actually runnign the election. But that smooth sailing comes at a cost. This cost will make it harder and harder for anyone not in the majority party to gain office. That is just wrong on so many levels.

Perhaps I was wrong at the top of this post. This may not be a committee meeting worth listening to. Not if there is any chance the committee will ignore the constitutional and potentially unethical changes this bill would make to current election law………

The bill was further amended in House State Affairs. Here is part of what the latest round of amending does:

  • A candidate wishing to withdraw their candidacy due to a sickness no longer needs two doctors notes, and it no longer has to be diagnosed after petition filing. But yes, a doctor verification is still needed…….
  • There is also a provision added where a candidate can withdraw if it is found their employment conflicts by law with the office being sought.
  • Letting people registered as “other” count on new party petitions.
  • Changing President or VP that is not nominated by convention can file petition starting in Dec, instead of Jan.
  • The terms “Independent” or “no party affiliation” are defined as: “any voter who writes Independent, I, Ind, the field is blank, no party affiliation, no party, no choice, nonpartisan, or line crossed off in the Choice of Party field on the voter registration form.
  • The term “Other” is defined as: “any voter who writes any other nonrecognized political party in the Choice of Party field on the voter registration form.”
  • Petition deadline date is once again changed, it now changes from “last Tuesday of March” to “last first Tuesday of March”. This will likely make some legislators happy that were not agreeable to the new quicker deadline.
  • The amendment added earlier to remove the registered mail option has now been undone. Legislators can once again mail their petitions.

The new amendments some of the problems with the bill. Personally I think the placeholder candidate portion of the bill should be taken out altogether. I still feel the bill is not a good one to pass. I understand what the Board of Elections is trying to do. But honestly the bill looks like it is still trying to put smoothness of the election process of the rights of people of any or no party to run for office. Yes, it is likely true that the two big parties (well, on big party) in SD will continue to win office. But that doesn’t mean that party should pass a bill that will make it harder for those not within their party to get elected. That just is not a good small government policy……

SB 140 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Accommodate legislation relating to education in South Dakota.

This is a hoghouse vehicle bill. It is just sad so many legislators have voted yes to a bill that contains no actual legislation.

SB 141 – SoDakLiberty Posts –  Accommodate legislation on medical services.

This is a hoghouse vehicle bill. It is just sad so many legislators have voted yes to a bill that contains no actual legislation.

SB 142 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Enhance South Dakota.

This is a hoghouse vehicle bill. It is just sad so many legislators have voted yes to a bill that contains no actual legislation.

SB 1 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain taxes and fees to fund improvements to public roads and bridges in South Dakota and to increase the maximum speed limit on interstate highways.

This is the massive infrastructure funding bill. It has been heavily amended  in Senate State Affairs, the Senate floor, and now House State Affairs. It did have one interesting addition in House State Affairs, that was an amendment to allow vehicles to drive 80 mph on the Interstate. Other than that I am going to wait until after the bill is amended on the House floor so I can see one finalized bill. It just changes too much everytime it is looked at to try keeping up with the changes. There are too many other pieces of legislation to keep up with, and enough others keeping an eye on this particular bill.

SB 99 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions of the risk pool fund due to federal legislation.

House Appropriations hoghoused this bill. Originally it dealt with the Medicaid contingency fund. Here is the entirety of the new bill:

Section 1. On June 29, 2015, the state treasurer shall transfer to the legislative priority pilot program contingency fund, which is hereby created, the sum of one million dollars ($1,000,000) from the South Dakota risk pool fund created by § 58-17-120. The contingency funds are to be made available in accordance with the provisions of §§ 4-8A-9, 4-8A-10, 4-8A-11, and 4-8A-12. The contingency funds shall be used to fund legislative priority pilot programs. Interest earned on money in the fund shall be deposited into the general fund.

SB 106 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Provide for risk management services for properties used to provide postsecondary technical education.

This hoghouse vehicle bill was re-hoghoused in House State Affairs to have this as its content:

Section 1. That § 13-39-29 be amended to read as follows:

    13-39-29. The secretary of education, through the director, may receive, acquire, have charge of, and operate all properties for the purposes authorized in this chapter. The secretary may acquire by gift, subject to the provisions of § 5-24-12, or purchase real and personal property for the use of career and technical education and may dispose of or transfer the same whenever the purposes of this chapter are benefited. The secretary may not purchase, lease, sell, encumber, or alienate any real property without the consent and prior approval of the Legislature. The Bureau of Administration shall provide risk management services for any properties used to provide postsecondary technical education pursuant to this chapter.

SB 39 – SoDakLiberty PostsMake an appropriation for costs related to disasters in the state and to declare an emergency.

This bill passed the Senate Appropriations committee 9-0. It was amended on the Senate floor and passed 33-0. It originally appropriated $7,994,449 for disasters, the Senate appropriation amount changed it to $5,214,003.

This was amended in House Appropriations. to appropriate $6,829,400.

SB 52 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions regarding investment income that is transferred to the general fund and to declare an emergency.

This was amended in Senate Appropriations and passed 6-3. It was then amended on the Senate floor and passed 30-4. I’ll have to listen to this testimony. For some reason I can’t recall what was said about it on the Senate floor.

This bill was amended in House Appropriations to remove all of its amendments.

SB 53 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions regarding the state aid to general education formula and to revise the property tax levies for the general fund of school districts.

This bill passed Senate Appropriations 8-0 and the Senate floor 25-10. Most notably this bill would change the “per student allocation” to $4876.76 for 2016, that is up from $4781.14 in 2015.

It was amended in House Appropriations to take effect July 1, 2017.

SB 54 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions regarding the state aid to special education formula and to revise the property tax levies for special education.

This one is for the special education formula. It looks similar to the percentages increased in SB 53. This bill passed Senate Appropriations and the Senate floor without opposition.

It was amended in House Appropriations to take effect July 1, 2017.

SB 55 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise the General Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2015.

This was amended in Senate Appropriations and passed 9-0. It then passed the Senate floor without opposition. I haven’t had time to look at all the changes, but so far I haven’t seen any red flags.

It had some more amending done in House Appropriations. But I haven’t had time to research. Just too little time to research appropriations bills and the rest of them.

SB 91 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Make an appropriation to support the South Dakota need-based grant program and to declare an emergency.

This was amended by Senate Appropriations from $200,000 down to $1. It then passed the committee 8-0. It was amended on the Senate floor to give it an emergency clause and passed 34-0. This would appropriate funds for the Board of Regents to use for the South Dakota need-based grant fund.

This was amended in House Appropriations from the $1 placeholder to $150,000. That is $50,000 short of original amount asked for.

SB 92 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Make an appropriation to support the South Dakota critical teaching needs scholarship program and to declare an emergency.

This was amended by Senate Appropriations from $200,000 down to $1. It then passed the committee 8-0. It was amended on the Senate floor to give it an emergency clause and passed 34-0. This would appropriate money for the Board of Regents to use for the South Dakota critical teaching needs scholarship program.

This was amended in House Appropriations from the $1 placeholder to $150,000. That is $50,000 short of original amount asked for.

SB 109 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Establish a grant program for adult community residential services designed to reduce the risk of recidivism, to provide a report to the Legislature, and to make an appropriation therefor.

This bill passed Senate Appropriations 8-0 after being amended. Before being amended, this bill appropriated $250,000 to fund the alternative care program being created by this bill. In addition, $4,000 of that money can be used for administration of the fund. The amendment changed the appropriated amount down to $1. It passed the Senate floor 30-2.

This was amended in House Appropriations  from the $1 placeholder to $150,000. Only $100,000 short of original amount asked for.

SB 152 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Make an appropriation for certain costs related to mountain pine beetle suppression and to declare an emergency.

This bill passed Senate Appropriations 8-0 after being amended. This appropriates $1,900,000 to continue the fight against the pine beetles. As usual the bill was amended down to $1 so the bill could advance. The bill passed the Senate floor 32-1.

This was amended in House Appropriations  from the $1 placeholder to $500,000.

SB 174 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Make an appropriation for the Ross Shaft at the Sanford Underground Research Facility and to declare an emergency.

This bill passed Senate Appropriations 8-0 after being amended. This bill originally appropriated $3,950,000 to the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority for the purposes of making upgrades and improvements to the Ross Shaft at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. As usual the bill was amended down to $1 so the bill could advance, but the actual appropriation amount can be determined later. It then passed the Senate floor 31-2.

This bill was also amended to remove all amendments. That restored the $3,950,000 to be appropriated.

It was then amended again to remove the amendment that removed all amendments, thus restoring all of the amendments from before the previous amendment. (say that ten times fast!)

It was then amended from the $1 placeholder to $2,000,000.

SB 176 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Provide for the development of online resources and a rubric of textbook analysis for use in school districts, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

This bill originally appropriated $500,000 “to the Department of Education for the purpose of providing for the development of online resources and a rubric of textbook analysis that meets South Dakota content standards, both of which shall be made available for use in school districts at no cost.” It was amended down to $1 and given the emergency clause. It passed Senate Appropriations 9-0 and the Senate floor 34-0.

It was then amended from the placeholder $1 to a new placeholders of $2 (to force it into committee).

SB 181 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Enhance higher education affordability and to make an appropriation therefor.

This bill was amended in Senate Appropriations to put the dollar amounts down to $1 and passed that committee 9-0. It passed the Senate floor 34-0. Here is what the bill originally appropriated:

  • $3,199,548 to the Board of Regents to freeze tuition charged to South Dakota residents enrolling in state-supported courses.
  • $735,896 to the Department of Education to be distributed to the postsecondary technical institutes to reduce the tuition charged to South Dakota residents enrolling in state-supported courses.

It was Amended in House State Affairs from the $1 placeholder to the new placeholder of $2.

Bills on the SD House floor for Mon Mar 9

March 9, 2015 Comments off
SD House Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15.

SD House Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15.

Here are the bills on the SD House floor for Monday, March 9, which begins at 2:00 PM central.

MOTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS

HB 1059SoDakLiberty PostsAllow authorized entities to access immunization information in certain circumstances.

Consideration of Senate Amendments;

Originally this bill changed a may to shall in regards to sharing of immunization records between certain entities. It was amended on the House floor with the following addition:

The provider shall verbally notify the patient, or if the patient is a minor, the patient’s parent or guardian of the patient’s ability to refuse to permit immunization information to be shared.

That amendment was able to get this bill passed on the House floor 45-24. But from what I hear this amendment has not pacified those angry about this bill. All this amendment did was say the provider must give verbal notification. The bill made it through Senate Health 4-2. It was then amended on the Senate floor to change the verbal notification to a written notification. The bill as amended passed the Senate floor 30-3. The House must now decide whether it agrees with amendment made on the Senate floor.

HB 1179 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise the definition of a veteran.

Consideration of Senate Amendments

This bill passed the House State Affairs committee 7-3, the House floor 63-4, and Senate Appropriations 9-0. This bill has received a lot of attention. This bill was amended on the Senate floor. It added ceremonial recognition as to the type of statute this bill applies to. It also added this language to the end of the bill:

For purposes of this section, the term, benefits, includes veterans designation on a driver license or identification card, veterans license plates, veterans job preference, and burial benefits pursuant to §§ 33A-5-2 and 33A-5-3.

The amended bill passed the Senate floor 32-2. This amendment may reduce some of the resistance to the bill because it clearly states what benefits are at stake. The House must decide whether to agree with the amendments made on the Senate floor.

CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

Amended HJ 33rd LD: SB 69, SB 65 (Consent Calendar), SB 66 (Consent Calendar), SB 67 (Consent Calendar)

SECOND READING OF CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS

SB 64 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions regarding the registration of business names.

SECOND READING OF SENATE BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

SB 97 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise the allowable penalties for a person admitted to drug court. 

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed through the Senate with no opposition and through House Judiciary 11-1. According to the fiscal note this bill will supposedly keep about seven people from year from going to prison. It is a small step, but it does appear to be a good move.

SB 2 – SoDakLiberty PostsProvide for the establishment of river basin natural resource districts.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed Senate Ag 6-3 after being amended. It passed the Senate floor 20-12. It was then amended in House Ag and passed 10-1. I think the amendment alleviates the fears of some (including me) about the bill. The amendment in part adds this language: “This Act does not give any district created pursuant to this Act any regulatory or taxing authority”. I still fear the districts would be used against land owners in the future. But the debate on whether this would help with excess water issues is worth having, It should be interesting to see what the House floor does with the bill.

SB 51 – SoDakLiberty PostsRepeal the contingency funds available for unanticipated costs related to medical services and to declare an emergency.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed the Senate and then House Appropriations without opposition. This was in the governor’s budget address. ACA has made this contingency fund unnecessary.

SB 33 – SoDakLiberty PostsExtend resident tuition eligibility to the spouses and children of active duty military personnel and of qualifying veterans.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill flew through the Senate and through House State Affairs with no opposition. Currently a veteran does not have to meet the twelve-month residency requirements to be considered a resident for tuition. This bill would add the same right to the veterans spouse or children.

SB 70SoDakLiberty Posts – Require that the mandatory reporter who witnessed the disclosure or evidence of child abuse or neglect be available to answer questions when the initial report is made.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill was amended by the Senate State Affairs committee and passed that same committee 9-0 and the Senate floor 33-0. After some good proponent testimony it passed through House State Affairs 12-0. Current state law has various professions that must report suspected child abuse or neglect. This bill would make sure the person reporting the abuse is available when the report is made to the authorities. That will help investigators actually determine what happened and if the case can be pursued.

SB 191 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions regarding capital outlay certificates and lease purchase agreements of school districts and the pledge of state aid to education funds program aid to secure such obligations.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed Senate State Affairs 9-0 after being amended. The bill then passed House State Affairs 12-0. It then had a title amendment on the Senate floor and passed 31-1.

SB 13 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Require certain persons convicted for human trafficking to register as sex offenders.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed Senate Judiciary and the Senate floor with no opposition. It passed House Judiciary 8-4. This bill adds two types of crimes to those that require registering as a sex offender. These two are first degree human trafficking if the victim is a minor and second degree human trafficking involving the prostitution of a minor. This bill I wonder about, because either of these convictions seem to possibly fit under current types of crimes that already require registering as a sex offender.

SB 186 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise the procedure for the execution of a warrant.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed Senate Judiciary 6-0 after being amended. The amendment took out the new language that was to be added by the bill. Now the bill appears to clarify the words used in the law. The bill passed the Senate floor 32-0. Finally it passed House Judiciary 11-0.

SB 95 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise provisions related to human trafficking.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed Senate Judiciary 6-0 after being amended. It then passed the Senate floor without opposition. House Health and Human Services passed the bill 11-1. The biggest change here appears to be changing the definition from under age 16 to under 18 in human trafficking code.

SB 73 – SoDakLiberty PostsImprove public safety regarding juvenile justice.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed the Senate and House State Affairs with no opposition. This is part of the Governors and Chief Justices initiative to reform SD’s horrendous juvenile incarceration rates. This bill would mirror some of the steps taken to reform the incarceration rates for adults. Parts of this bill has some good ideas and changes. But until the state actually looks at reducing the number of victim-less offenses that are crimes, there will continue to be an outrageous number of people in SD locked up for no reason. But having said that, I do think this bill provides an improvement over what is currently.

SB 190 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Clarify health coverage for applied behavior analysis.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill was amended twice in Senate State Affairs and passed that committee 9-0. It then passed the Senate floor 35-0. It was further amended in House State Affairs. One of the big changes in House State Affairs was to change the maximum benefit for children up to age six from “$36,000″ to “$50,000″. I do think the proponents in committee made the case that such changes need to be made. I also think it is just wrong that insurance companies are not covering ABA. But at the same time I still see this as a mandate. It should also be noted that this mandate only applies to grandfathered plans (ones not compliant with ACA), and even then it might not apply to all of those plans. This is not just a mandate, but it is a mandate that is targeted to a class of insurance that will keep shrinking. This will likely pass the House…

SB 132 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Allow school districts to recruit teachers by providing certain financial incentives.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed Senate Ed 4-1. It was amended on the Senate floor and passed 26-7. The amendment on the Senate floor took away the incentives for current teachers. This bill was amended last week in House Ed. The amendment allows a school district to negotiate through a teacher’s designated collective bargaining representative. However the language is permissive. Meaning the school district doesn’t have to work through a union for this incentive if it doesn’t want to. The amended bill passed through House Ed 11-3. This bill shouldn’t have any problems passing the House floor.

SB 134 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Prohibit minor boundary changes for one year, to establish the school district boundary task force, and to declare an emergency.

* Deferred from last week!

This was a hoghouse vehicle bill. It passed through the Senate without opposition after Senate State Affairs filled the bill with its actual content. It was slightly amended in House Ed and passed that committee 14-0. Section 2 of the bill explains the purpose of this task force pretty well:

There is hereby established the school district boundary task force. The task force shall examine the boundaries of the existing school districts and recommend possible changes to those school district boundaries. The task force will also recommend a process for addressing minor boundary changes in the future once the moratorium established in section 1 of this Act has ended. The task force will not discuss or make any recommendations regarding school district reorganization.

SB 154 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Require that certain employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs be veterans.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed the Senate with no opposition. It was slightly amended in House Judiciary and passed that committee 12-1. This bill would require the “state veterans service officer or state fieldmen veterans service officer shall be a veteran who has served in the armed forces of the United States and is a citizen of the United States”. It then says all other employees of the Dept of VA shall be veterans if available. I can understand giving preference to veterans for these jobs. But I really can’t see a provision that says a veteran must fill these positions. That just isn’t good policy.

SB 131 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Establish certain provisions regarding stray electrical current and voltage remediation.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed through the Senate  and through House Ag without opposition. This has been an interesting bill to listen to, I’ve learned a lot. It seems the bill is set to give a process for dairy producers and electricity providers to settle stray voltage disputes (something I had not heard about before). If the farmer believes stray voltage has negatively impacted a cow, then the PUC would be brought in. There are provisions built-in to make sure neither side of the dispute are doing so in bad faith. It is an interesting bill, and should pass the House easily.

SB 178 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain programs and authorize certain projects in the Unified Judicial System and to make an appropriation therefor.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed through the Senate and through House Appropriations without opposition. This bill appropriates $500,000 from the Unified Judicial System court automation fund to the Unified Judicial System for the purpose of providing incentive payments to attorneys participating in the rural attorney assistance program. The bill also increases the number of attorneys that can participate in the program from 16 to 32. The bill also has an appropriation of $300,000 for renovating the Supreme Court law library in the state capitol building. Another $100,000 is appropriated to award grants to counties for projects related to the improvement of courthouse security. Then another $400,000 to help address the negative cash balance in the law enforcement officers training fund.

SB 179 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions relating to record search fees in the Unified Judicial System.

* Deferred from last week!

This passed Senate Appropriations 7-1 and the Senate floor 31-0 and House Appropriations 8-0. This bill appears to increase the fee from $15 to $20. That extra $5 would go directly to the law enforcement officers’ training fund.

SB 180 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions regarding the production tax for wind energy facilities and to declare an emergency.

This bill was amended in Senate Commerce and Energy and passed that committee 7-0. It passed the Senate floor 32-2. It was then hoghoused in House Taxation and passed that committee 14-0. This bill would basically change how wind energy facilities are taxed. Currently they are taxed in a way that makes them noncompetitive compared to neighboring states. This bill would allow SD to compete in the wind energy industry. The new version of the bill also has an emergency clause, so it could take effect immediately after being signed into law.

SB 100 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Create a leased residential property classification.

This bill passed Senate Taxation 4-3. It was amended on the Senate floor to remove the new levy for this classification. The amended version of the bill passed. 25-8. This bill would remove the classification non-agricultural acreage and create a new property tax classification of leased residential property. The bill had a slight amendment in House Taxation and passed that committee 10-5. This is a bill I don’t like.

Technically the bill in its current form is a way for the state to collect data about how many leased residential properties there are in the state so it can be determined if property tax changes can be made. This would theoretically allow for lower property taxes that can be passed on to families struggling to pay their rent. Personally I believe the bill would do the opposite long-term. Long-term I believe this classification change would open up the door to property taxes per unit when dealing with rental situations. That could end up being one heck of a large tax increase.

Additionally I don’t think enough property owners will go down to the County office and change the classification of their property just so the state can collect data. It is a bad bill that should just go away.

SB 68 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Provide for a random sampling of nominating petition signatures for statewide offices.

This bill flew through the Senate and through House State Affairs without a no vote. The 5% sampling this bill calls for may have headed off some of the troubles encountered during the 2014 election.

House Taxation committee has 3 bills on Thurs Mar 5

March 4, 2015 1 comment

apartment-buildingOn Thursday, March 5th, at 7:45 AM the SD House Taxation committee will take on 3 bills.

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. This bill has had a journey. This bill was amended in Senate Ed. It then failed a Do Pass motion by 3-3. It was then sent to the floor with no recommendation. The Senate floor then voted 24-7 to allow it to be placed on the calendar. It had a slight amendment on the Senate floor (that failed to change the problems many have with the bill). It then passed the Senate floor 23-12. This bill allows certain insurance companies to contribute money to a scholarship to be used in private schools and then get a tax credit. I am definitely for companies giving scholarships. I am also for private schools. But I have a hard time supporting this bill. It basically uses taxpayer dollars to subsidize a private school. I wouldn’t think private schools would want this either. If enough of these type bills are passed it will only be a matter of time before strings start becoming attached to them with certain mandates. No, lets keep private schools away from public funding.

SB 100 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Create a leased residential property classification.

Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) and Rep Don Haggar (R, Dist 10) are the prime sponsors. This bill passed Senate Taxation 4-3. It was amended on the House floor to remove the new levy for this classification. The amended version of the bill passed. 25-8. This bill would remove the classification non-agricultural acreage and create a new property tax classification of leased residential property. I really don’t like this bill. It is an attempt to grab more property taxes. I really find it odd that I’ve heard many people talk about how hard it is to find affordable apartments, and here the legislature is trying to raise the costs of running a rental. Once the new classification is going for a few years I fully expect it will be used to create large new taxes for leased residential property.

SB 180 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions regarding the production tax for wind energy facilities.

Sen Tim Rave (R, Dist 25) and Rep Roger Solum (R, Dist 5) are the prime sponsors. This bill was amended in Senate Commerce and Energy and passed that committee 7-0. It passed the Senate floor 32-2. This appears to the change the tax on new wind farms from “an annual tax of two percent of the gross receipts” to “an annual tax of .00040 dollars per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced by the wind farm”. Part of what the amendment changed was the annual tax was at .00035 in the bill, now it is .00040. This looks like a tax hike to me, but it hard to know without knowing the revenues currently being brought in compared to what the new system will bring in.

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