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Frerichs, McCleerey and Feickert at the Brown County Democrat March meeting

March 27, 2015 3 comments

On March 26, 2015, the Brown County Democrats held their monthly meeting at the Eagles club in Aberdeen. Sen Jason Frerichs (D, Dist 1), Rep Steven McCleerey (D, Dist 1), and Rep Dennis Feickert (D, Dist 1) were all guest speakers to give their perspective about how the SD 2015 legislative session went. In this post I’ll pull out some of the highlights of what they each had to say (and keep my editorial comments to a minimum)

Sen Frerichs speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 03/26/15.

Sen Frerichs speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 03/26/15.

Frerichs was the first legislator to speak. He opened up by noting that the Senate Democrat caucus actually gained one member in 2015. Along those lines he noted it would have been nice to keep Chuck Welke in the Senate, but he was defeated last fall by Sen Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2). He noted that each additional person in the Senate gives the Democrat caucus a little more power, but they need to work on getting at least a third of the Senate to make any real headway. I would agree, in 2016 the Democrats should work hard on getting twelve seats in the Senate if they truly want to have any impact in Pierre.

When talking about this session, Frerichs noted a big theme of this session was that big issues were being avoided. The issues he brought up that were ignored this year include Medicaid Expansion, teacher pay, and teacher recruitment. He believes those issues were “brought up, and placed on top, and placed to the side. And that is unfortunate.”

When talking about the roads bill SB 1 Frerichs noted that the Governor wanted the roads bill and “wants it bad”. He noted the first time going through the Senate he voted no to SB1 quite easily because it really didn’t do much for local governments. Frerichs noted that the conference committee for the bill was one of the worst he has ever seen in Pierre (and I would agree). He noted the bill kept getting delayed during the conference committee process and that the House was holding it up. From his perspective it wasn’t even a Republican vs Democrat issue. It was purely the House trying to control the bill. On the Senate side he noted the Democrats were being lobbied hard to vote for SB1, because they were a couple of votes short in the Republican caucus. Frerichs said that was a good opportunity for the Democrats to push for more local money. The final bill he felt was more “leveled out” so he voted for it the second time. (My summary of what is in SB 1 can be read here).

Frerichs then went on to talk about the water management bills SB 2 and SB 3. Both of these are bills he worked hard on to get passed and will continue to work with going forward. SB 2 creates nine river basin natural resource districts. He also mentioned it creates a pilot project in his area of the state and has a legislative oversight taskforce. He believes there will be a lot of work implementing SB2. He noted that the districts will be a work in progress. When talking about the districts he doesn’t think they will solve all of the water problems; but he does think the program will get the state down the right path of managing the water in the river basins. He said “we shouldn’t just sit back and let mother nature rule us.” That was an interesting segway into his next point. He noted the legislature also passed legislation providing funding for the pine beetle situation west river (SB 152). He noted that west river is fighting to save their property and their economy from a mother nature problem. Further, he finished that thought by saying “This is our pine beetle problem of the east”.

Rep McCleerey speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 03/26/15.

Rep McCleerey speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 03/26/15.

McCleerey said if he had to sum up the session in one word it would be “frustrating”. He believes there is a lack of leadership “coming from the other side” and coming from the Governor’s office. He believes that is an unfortunate situation for the people of South Dakota. When talking about the youth minimum wage bill (SB 177) he felt the Governor should have used a veto. That seemed to tie into the lack of leadership points he made.

Briefly McCleerey mentioned something I have noted and plan to a post about in the future. He felt the time being put in while at Pierre is not sufficient. It was frustrating for him that session ended so early every day, and then on Friday they would be out of there at 1:30 pm.

McCleerey also took a few minutes to talk about the highway bill. He noted that when campaigning transportation funding was one of his top issues. But he was hesitant to vote for the bill because it was a such a “poor bill from the start”. The addition of the interstate top speed of 80 mph made the bill even worse for him. He did vote yes to the bill in the end.

Looking to the future McCleerey stated he believes the 2016 legislative session will be about Medicaid expansion and education funding. After that he believes the next two session will be about the Governors race. He doesn’t believe anything substantial will be done in 2017 and 2018 from his perspective. (I agree with him on these points, I would say the run for Governor in 2018 has already started, but that is a topic for a different post).

Talking about bills before the Health & Human Service’s committee, McCleerey mentioned HB 1080. HB 1080 allows investigational treatments to be used by patients under certain conditions. He was happy to the bill passed so it could help people out.

McCleerey was disappointed to see the tanning bed prohibition for minors (HB 1166) was not passed. He says cancer is increasing at an extreme rate. He says the bill was stopped by “small business libertarian types”. He felt it was almost embarrassing that the bill could not be passed, even though it had been amended many times to work out the differences. He felt it was wrong to choose between cancer and small businesses. Going further, he noted that a bill was passed to allow the use of a chemo therapy pill to treat cancer (SB 101) but the legislature couldn’t pass a bill to prevent cancer.

At the end of his time McCleerey noted the Republicans “are a split party”. He hopes the Democrats can capitalize on the split that is evident in the SD Republican party.

Rep Feickert speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 03/26/15.

Rep Feickert speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 03/26/15.

Feickert began by saying it was a disappointing how few bills the transportation committee actually took up this year. He noted that many of the bills that went before Transportation dealt more with updating the dates referenced in law. He was truly disappointed in SB 1 because there was discussion about where the road funding bill should go. Due to politics, he said that there was a push to get the transportation funding bill taken out of Transportation and put into State Affairs. The committee actually voted to keep the bill in Transportation. Then the next day it voted on the House floor to force the bill out of Transportation and into State Affairs. He said from that point on the massive transportation bill really didn’t have any involvement from the Transportation committee. (This is another issue that deserves a separate post, Feickert has a good point about the politics of this bill).

When going into specifics about SB 1, Feickert noted he was not happy with the tiered property tax portion of the bill. He said this new method of funding roads is “worse than an opt-out”. He believes the tiers are going to hurt big population counties. When it comes to property tax funding he felt the Governor’s original proposal was much better, but that was changed on the Senate floor.

Feickert also felt it was bad that the bill asking for a study on taxing agricultural land by its actual use was not passed (SB 4). He felt the study would have been able to show what the impact would be if a production-based property tax was implemented. Many opponents of the bill said it would negatively impact school funding. Feickert said the study should have been approved so it could be determined if that was true. Along the same lines he mention the bill that would have created a new leased residential property classification (SB 100). SB 100 was vetoed by the Governor. He feels the same arguments for SB 100 should have been used for SB 4. But at the same time he questioned whether landords would actually have passed savings on to renters if SB 100 had been implemented and a new lower tax levy was created for it.

Overall I would say all three legislators tried to make the case that it is hard to serve in a party that is in a super-minority. But all three noted that division within the Republican party does allow for them to have power at certain times. If they can get more numbers in the 2016 election it might open a new door for Democrats. (That is a BIG IF at this point).

Governor Daugaard signed five final bills for the SD 2015 legislative session

March 20, 2015 Comments off
Rep Gosch on the SD House floor after SB 69 had been killed briefly. Photo by Ken Santema 3/10/15.

Rep Gosch on the SD House floor after SB 69 had been killed briefly. Photo by Ken Santema 3/10/15.

On Friday, March 20, Governor Daugaard signed 5 bills into law. These were five of the final eight bills he waited until today to publicly announce his actions. The other three bills he vetoed.

Posts on the previous bills signed into law during the SD 2015 SD legislative session can be found hereherehereherehereherehere, herehere, here, herehere, and here.

This a group of bills where I wish the Governor had used his veto pen a little bit more. Just like with the 19 bills Daugaard signed yesterday, I’m not going to go too deep into these bills at this time. During the summer I have interviews setup with experts about most of these bills and plan more in-depth posts.

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

Sen Jason Frerichs (D, Dist 1) and Rep Brian Gosch (R, Dist 32) are the prime sponsors at the request of the Regional Watershed Advisory Task Force. 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. The House floor passed it 51-18 and the Senate concurred in the House changes 28-6.

I found this to be a quite odd bill for a Republican legislature to pass. Technically the new river basin natural resource districts could lead to a large and out-of-control bureaucracy in future years. I think the amendment alleviated the short-term 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. If this was really so important I wonder why they couldn’t start small, with just one small test water district. This summer I will be speaking with various proponents and opponents of this bill. Right now I am still very much an opponent, but I will as always keep an open mind.

SB 3 – SoDakLiberty PostsProvide for mediation of certain drainage disputes.

Sen Mike Vehle (R, Dist 20) and Rep Brian Gosch (R, Dist 32) are the prime sponsors at the request of the Regional Watershed Advisory Task Force. This bill was amended in Senate Ag and passed that committee 8-0. It then passed the Senate floor 32-2. House Agriculture and Natural Resources passed the bill 11-0 and the House floor passed it 67-1.

This is a HUGE topic… especially here in Brown County, where the County Commissioners act as the drainage board. There have been a lot of incidents where neighbors get into battles (sometimes with fists) over water drainage issues. At first I opposed the bill. But as time went on and I studied the bill more I feel this was actually good legislation. It will allow for drainage disputes to be settled outside of the judicial system. Currently the County Commissioners have no actual power to settle disputes, and it would be unwise to give them that power. This bill allows for a mediation path that should be cheaper for landowners than through the judicial system.

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

This bill comes as a request of the SD State Board of Elections. Through session many people, including myself have called it SOS Shantel Krebs bill, but I would like to once again point out the SD State Board of Elections has their name on the bill.

SB 67 passed both chambers with only opposition from 3 on the House floor.

This bill doesn’t seem to be fixing the right problem because it fails to add adequate time for people to challenge a petition. I listened to the SOS give proponent testimony in Senate State Affairs (what seems like forever ago). I do think she made the case that this bill will expedite the court portion of a petition challenge. It undoubtedly will do so. However I believe a bigger problem is citizens getting access to the actual petitions to be challenged, and the voters rolls to do it with. I would have preferred another week for petition challenges be added into this bill. Yes, I think this bill makes an improvement, just not enough. In the end it doesn’t matter what this bill does though. SB 69 (further down the list) is the sister bill to SB 67. Since SB 69 has been amended, the actual good that may come from SB 67 has been destroyed. SB 67 and SB 69 are being submitted (at least in part) to deal with craziness that happened during the 2014 election. As things stand now the election of 2016 may actually be more of a circus thanks to these bills. It should make for interesting blogging!

If the Governor had vetoed SB 69 he would also have had to veto SB 67 because of the timeline changes that connect the two bills.

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

This is the only bill I adamantly wanted the Governor to veto. This bill also comes as a request of the SD State Board of Elections. And just like SB 67, originates from SOS Shantel Krebs. Honestly I’m tired of blogging about this bill. I have a post highlighting the whole history of this bill and why it should have been vetoed. Sadly the bill was not vetoed. I’ve already seen groups are looking at challenging the law next year in court. Since there are already federal cases showing certain provisions in SB 69 are unconstitutional it should be an easy case. It is sad the legislature chose to pass a bill with known constitutional issues that taxpayers will now have to pay to defend and the AG will have to spend valuable time defending.

Too bad. This underlying original intent of parts of this bill were pretty good and would have made a good first start towards election reform in SD. But instead now it looks like the legislative leaders in Pierre are acting like bullies to keep opposition off the ballot. That just isn’t healthy for the State of SD.

I probably won’t blog about this anymore until the lawsuits are brought forth. I’ve also heard whispered of an initiated measure to change certain election provisions. That also may be another time I blog about this bill.

SB 177 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Establish a youth minimum wage.

Sen David Novstrup (R, Dist 3) and Rep Justin Cronin (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors. This bill passed Senate Commerce and Energy 5-1, the Senate floor 26-7, and House Commerce 11-2. It was then sent back to House Commerce because of a request to get a fiscal note. The bill then passed out of House Commerce 11-1. The House floor passed the bill 44-24.

This bill changes the minimum wage for those under 18 to $7.50. This is in response to the minimum wage going up due to the initiated measure on last years ballot. Personally I think this is a good change. I have spoken to certain employers in the Aberdeen area that use youth help for extra projects during the summer. Their budget for summer help is set to a certain dollar amount. The increased wage for these youth means less hours available for youth labor during the summer. But, at the same time this new minimum wage was just set by the voters of SD. So it might be too soon to make such changes…

I expect most of my blogging about this particular bill will come from the 2016 District 3 race for state Senate. If David Novstrup runs for re-election I would expect the Brown County Democrats to make this their top issue to get a Democrat elected.

Bills on the SD House floor for Thurs Mar 5

March 5, 2015 Comments off

SONY DSCHere are the bills on the SD House floor for Thursday, March 5, which begins at 2:00 PM central.

MOTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS

HB 1050 – SoDakLiberty PostsRepeal certain funds, to make revisions to receipts dedicated to the property tax reduction fund, and to create the general revenue replacement fund.

Consideration of Senate Amendments

This bill passed House Appropriations 8-0, the House floor 58-11, and Senate Appropriations 9-0. It was amended on the Senate floor and passed 34-0. This bill puts funds directly to the general fund that were in special purpose funds. It appears this might be a way for the executive branch to get around using money the way they are supposed to. The House has to choose whether to agree with an amendment made on the Senate floor to include “any outstanding balance on repayments due to the budget reserve fund pursuant to a legislative act” in the definition of the budget reserve.

HB 1134 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions concerning the expungement of arrest records.

Consideration of Senate Amendments

This passed House Judiciary 9-3 and the House floor 64-2. Senate Judiciary passed the bill 5-2. It was amended on the Senate floor and passed 33-1. The House must choose whether to agree with the amendment. It appears to me that the amended version of the bill still provides the opportunity to have charges expunged.

SECOND READING OF CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS

SB 119 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions regarding abandoned mobile and manufactured homes.

SB 17 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise the definition of motor vehicles that are subject to the lemon law.

SB 108 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions relating to aggravated DUI’s.‘s.

SECOND READING OF SENATE BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

SB 120 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions regarding special alcoholic beverage licenses issued in conjunction with special events and to declare an emergency.

* Deferred from yesterday after being amended on the House floor to add distilled spirits.

This bill was hoghoused in Senate Commerce. The new version of this bill seems much more straightforward in allowing a special off-sale package wine dealers or malt beverage dealers license for use in certain special events. The committee also added an emergency clause so it could take effect after being passed into law. The amended bill passed through Senate Commerce, the Senate and House Commerce without opposition.

SB 98 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise the provisions related to the financial accountability system.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed Senate Judiciary 5-1, the Senate floor 31-2, and House Judiciary 11-1. If I remember testimony on this bill correctly it is mostly word cleanup.

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

* Deferred from yesterday!

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 101 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Establish certain provisions regarding cancer treatment medication coverage by insurance companies.

In its original form this bill was a pure mandate. It was hoghoused to change its approach in Senate Health and passed that committee 6-0. It was then further amended on the Senate floor and passed 35-0. House Health passed the bill 11-0. Basically this bill makes medical insurance companies in SD treat medicine forms of cancer treatment the same as they do traditional (more invasive) methods. Apparently the insurance companies have been treating such treatments as medication, so it was not covered under the normal insurance plan. I agree with what the bill is trying to do. But it still looks like a mandate to me.

SB 50 – SoDakLiberty PostsAuthorize the South Dakota Building Authority to provide for the construction, reconstruction, renovation, and modernization of state park facilities and infrastructure at Custer State Park for the Department of Game, Fish and Parks, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

This bill passed through the Senate and through House Appropriations without opposition. This is a long appropriation bill with a lot of amending done in Senate Appropriations. It appropriates $11,500,000 for the Custer project.

SB 172 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Strengthen the financial practices of the State of South Dakota.

This bill passed through the Senate and through House Appropriations without opposition. It appears to be changing how debt is utilized by the state. But I have to listen to the testimony to make sure.

SB 173 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Make appropriations from the water and environment fund, the water pollution control revolving fund subfund, and the drinking water revolving fund subfund for various water and environmental purposes, to revise the state water plan, to increase the authority of the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources to make consolidated water facilities construction program awards, and to declare an emergency.

This bill passed through the Senate and through House Appropriations without opposition. This actually has quite a few appropriations in it from the South Dakota water and environment fund. Here is the long list of appropriations in this bill:

  • $7,700,000 to provide funds to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing a no-interest loan to local project sponsors as an advance on federal funds for the construction of facilities included in the Lewis and Clark Rural Water System
  • $250,000 to provide funds to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing grants to state and local project sponsors for hydrology and water management studies to assess, model, and quantify the state’s surface water and groundwater resources.
  • $16,500,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing grants and loans to project sponsors under the consolidated water facilities construction program
  • $4,000,000  to the city of Clark, for the design and construction of a waste water treatment facility, a sanitary sewer interceptor, and sewer main.
  • $3,000,000 to the Big Sioux Community Water System, for the design and construction of water lines and a pump station to interconnect with the city of Madison and the Minnehaha Community Water Corporation.
  • $1,800,000 to the Minnehaha Community Water Corporation, for the design and construction of water lines to provide capacity to interconnect with the Big Sioux Community Water System and the city of Madison.
  • An increase from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 to any project in the state water facilities plan without specific authorization of the Legislature.
  • $1,300,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing grants and loans to project sponsors under the solid waste management program
  • $1,000,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing grants and loans to project sponsors for the construction, remediation, enlargement, closure, or upgrade of regional landfills.
  • $1,000,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing water quality grants under the state water pollution control revolving fund program
  • $150,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of contracting for the preparation of applications and administration of clean water state revolving fund loans under the state water pollution control revolving fund program
  • $150,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of contracting for the preparation of applications and administration of drinking water state revolving fund loans under the state drinking water revolving fund program
  • $250,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing grants to very small community water systems to address drinking water compliance and public health issues.
  • $200,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing small system technical assistance set-aside grants to project sponsors under the state drinking water revolving fund program

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

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. 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.

SB 111 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Repeal the provision that invalidates absentee ballots cast by voters who died before the date of the election.

This bill passed Senate Local Government 5-1 and the Senate floor 34-0. The bill failed a Do Pass motion last week by a vote of 6-6 in House Local Government. After being deferred the bill passed House Local Government 7-5. Here is what I said about the bill before, and stick with: “I don’t really see the purpose of this bill. Election day is election day. I already think SD over-uses early voting. I don’t see a problem with the current law that states if you are not alive on election day that your vote won’t count.”

SB 126 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain publications date citations for references to the International Building Code and International Property Maintenance Code.

There was no opposition to the bill on the Senate side or in House Local Government. This updates references from the 2012 edition of the International Building Code to 2015. This is an area that annoys me actually. If someone wants to find out how to comply with code they need to dish out $131 to find out what the code is for new buildings. This is a way for government officials to over-regulate without making it look like they are doing so.

SB 161 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Allow certain fireworks to be used all year.

This bill was amended in Senate Commerce to remove fountains, sparklers, and ground spinners from the fireworks being added by this bill. All that leaves in the bill is “snakes, and smoke effects, if they do not fly, travel, or explode, to single-shot parachute pieces without a flare”. After being amended it passed the committee 7-0. It was then amended on the Senate floor to put this language into a new section, instead of modifying current code. House Local Government passed the bill 12-0. There really isn’t much left to the bill, why bother at this point?

SB 3 – SoDakLiberty PostsProvide for mediation of certain drainage disputes.

This bill was amended in Senate Ag and passed that committee 8-0. It then passed the Senate floor 32-2. House Agriculture and Natural Resources passed the bill 11-0. This is a HUGE topic… especially here in Brown County, where the County Commissioners act as the drainage board. There have been a lot of incidents where neighbors get into battles (sometimes with fists) over water drainage issues. I don’t see getting the Dept of Ag involved as the answer. Currently cases dealing with drainage issues go to court. This bill would allow mediation of such cases without expense of a court. I have been opposed to this, and still have soft opposition to the bill. But this issue gets hotter and hotter each year in NE South Dakota. Perhaps it is time for an approach such as this to come forward.

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

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. Basically this looks like a good bill. It prevents a tax from being taxed. 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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 137 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions regarding the term of the Executive Board of the Legislative Research Council.

This bill passed through the Senate and through House State Affairs with no opposition. This seems to ensure that the legislators elected to the board only serve during the two-year period each legislator is elected to. I think the older language intends that, but this bill makes that much more clear.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Bills on the SD House floor for Weds Mar 4

March 4, 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 Wednesday, March 4, which begins at 2:00 PM central.

MOTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS

HB 1122  – SoDakLiberty PostsAuthorize township boards to designate certain roads as no maintenance roads.

Consideration of Senate Amendments

This bill allows township designate roads as no maintenance. The bill was amended in Senate Transportation to remove language allowing township boards to post a road as closed. Instead the bill is focused on marking a road as no maintenance. The House will need to vote on whether to concur with the amendment, or if it should be sent to committee to work out the differences.

SCR 6 – SoDakLiberty PostsTo direct the Department of Education to ensure South Dakota students are well-versed in civics and government.

SECOND READING OF CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS

SB 168 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Establish a task force to study elder abuse in South Dakota.

SB 182 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise the rate of interest for late payment of certain taxes.

SB 124 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise the requirements for a petition for a minor boundary change.

SECOND READING OF SENATE BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

SB 60 – SoDakLiberty PostsProvide newborn screening of inherited and genetic disorders.

This bill was on the House floor before. But a fiscal note was requested. Here are my notes about the bill last time it was on the floor:

It was amended on the Senate floor and then was passed 31-4. Finally it passed Health and Human Services 9-4. This is a horrible bill. The DOH has no place getting between the doctor and patient. What tests a newborn goes through should not involve a government agency at all.

The fiscal note basically said there was no impact from passing this bill because it doesn’t actually require the new screenings. What the bill does is allow the Department of Health to create rules that would mandate the screenings. At that time a new fiscal note would have to be created.

I still feel this is a bad bill. It is asking the SD Dept of Health to get further into the business between patients and doctors.

SB 25 – SoDakLiberty PostsAuthorize the Board of Regents to enter into a lease-purchase agreement to acquire agricultural property in Moody County for the use and benefit of the South Dakota State University Agricultural Experiment Station.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed the Senate and House Appropriations with no opposition.The least terms for the property in question cannot exceed fifteen years and must not have an annual lease payment of more than $120,000. That $120,000 seemed like a lot. Here is where the bill says it comes from: “The annual lease payment shall be authorized through the normal budgeting process and shall be made from other funds derived from grant and contract indirect recovery funds, royalty funds, and income from sales of services.” The land in question is about 320 acres.

SB 26 – SoDakLiberty PostsAuthorize the Board of Regents to demolish the veterinary isolation building on the campus of South Dakota State University and to make an appropriation therefor.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed the Senate and House Appropriations with no opposition. Another demolition for SDSU. This bill would appropriate $70,000 to demolish the veterinary isolation building.

SB 27 – SoDakLiberty PostsAuthorize the Board of Regents to contract for the replacement of the plant science research support facility on the campus of South Dakota State University and to make an appropriation therefor.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill was amended in Senate Appropriations went through the Senate and House Appropriations with no opposition. This would appropriate $4,000,000 to build the plant science research support facility for SDSU.

SB 110 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise the authority granted to the Building Authority and to the Board of Regents to construct an information system building on the campus of Dakota State University in Madison.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed the Senate and House Appropriations with no opposition. This bill raises the appropriated funds for construction from $10,000,000 to $11,4000,000.

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

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed Senate Commerce and Energy without opposition. It was then amended on the Senate floor and passed that body without opposition. House State Affairs also passed the bill without opposition. The proponents in the committee meetings tried to say this was not about getting more revenue through these fees. Yet from the extreme changes it would seem to be the Dept of Revenue looking to get more money.

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 86 – SoDakLiberty PostsPlace a term limit on the office of poet laureate.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill was slightly amended in Senate Ed and then passed 7-0. It then passed the Senate floor after Senator Brown graced the chamber with a poem (a very cool one written by the interns if I remember right). The poem was read again in House State Affairs 9-2. Personally I don’t care one way or the other about this bill…

SB 153 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Repeal the South Dakota certified site and technology park programs.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill went through the Senate and through House Education with no opposition. This would repeal the Certified Site for Development (§ 6-18) and Certified Technology parks (§ 6-19) portion of SD codified law; plus all of the rules that have promulgated from those sections of code. It removes a portion of GOED, so that part sounds good.

SB 120 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions regarding special alcoholic beverage licenses issued in conjunction with special events and to declare an emergency.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill was hoghoused in Senate Commerce. The new version of this bill seems much more straightforward in allowing a special off-sale package wine dealers or malt beverage dealers license for use in certain special events. The committee also added an emergency clause so it could take effect after being passed into law. The amended bill passed through Senate Commerce, the Senate and House Commerce without opposition.

SB 177 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Establish a youth minimum wage.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed Senate Commerce and Energy 5-1, the Senate floor 26-7, and House Commerce 11-2. It was then sent back to House Commerce because of a request to get a fiscal note. The bill then passed out of House Commerce 11-1. This bill changes the minimum wage for those under 18 to $7.50. This is in response to the minimum wage going up due to the initiated measure on last years ballot. Personally I think this is a good change. I have spoken to certain employers in the Aberdeen area that use youth help for extra projects during the summer. Their budget for summer help is set to a certain dollar amount. The increased wage for these youth means less hours available for youth labor during the summer. But, at the same time this new minimum wage was just set by the voters of SD. So it might be too soon to make such changes…

SB 82 – SoDakLiberty PostsUpdate outdated language related to domestic abuse.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed the Senate Judiciary committee 7-0, the Senate floor 31-2, and the House Judiciary Committee 10-2. This bill would modify language for domestic abuse in one part of code to point at the new language for domestic relationships that was modified last year (§ 25-10-3.1).

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

* Deferred from yesterday!

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 98 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise the provisions related to the financial accountability system.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed Senate Judiciary 5-1, the Senate floor 31-2, and House Judiciary 11-1. If I remember testimony on this bill correctly it is mostly word cleanup.

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

* Deferred from yesterday!

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 101 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Establish certain provisions regarding cancer treatment medication coverage by insurance companies.

In its original form this bill was a pure mandate. It was hoghoused to change its approach in Senate Health and passed that committee 6-0. It was then further amended on the Senate floor and passed 35-0. House Health passed the bill 11-0. Basically this bill makes medical insurance companies in SD treat medicine forms of cancer treatment the same as they do traditional (more invasive) methods. Apparently the insurance companies have been treating such treatments as medication, so it was not covered under the normal insurance plan. I agree with what the bill is trying to do. But it still looks like a mandate to me.

SB 50 – SoDakLiberty PostsAuthorize the South Dakota Building Authority to provide for the construction, reconstruction, renovation, and modernization of state park facilities and infrastructure at Custer State Park for the Department of Game, Fish and Parks, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

This bill passed through the Senate and through House Appropriations without opposition. This is a long appropriation bill with a lot of amending done in Senate Appropriations. It appropriates $11,500,000 for the Custer project.

SB 172 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Strengthen the financial practices of the State of South Dakota.

This bill passed through the Senate and through House Appropriations without opposition. It appears to be changing how debt is utilized by the state. But I have to listen to the testimony to make sure.

SB 173 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Make appropriations from the water and environment fund, the water pollution control revolving fund subfund, and the drinking water revolving fund subfund for various water and environmental purposes, to revise the state water plan, to increase the authority of the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources to make consolidated water facilities construction program awards, and to declare an emergency.

This bill passed through the Senate and through House Appropriations without opposition. This actually has quite a few appropriations in it from the South Dakota water and environment fund. Here is the long list of appropriations in this bill:

  • $7,700,000 to provide funds to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing a no-interest loan to local project sponsors as an advance on federal funds for the construction of facilities included in the Lewis and Clark Rural Water System
  • $250,000 to provide funds to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing grants to state and local project sponsors for hydrology and water management studies to assess, model, and quantify the state’s surface water and groundwater resources.
  • $16,500,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing grants and loans to project sponsors under the consolidated water facilities construction program
  • $4,000,000  to the city of Clark, for the design and construction of a waste water treatment facility, a sanitary sewer interceptor, and sewer main.
  • $3,000,000 to the Big Sioux Community Water System, for the design and construction of water lines and a pump station to interconnect with the city of Madison and the Minnehaha Community Water Corporation.
  • $1,800,000 to the Minnehaha Community Water Corporation, for the design and construction of water lines to provide capacity to interconnect with the Big Sioux Community Water System and the city of Madison.
  • An increase from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 to any project in the state water facilities plan without specific authorization of the Legislature.
  • $1,300,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing grants and loans to project sponsors under the solid waste management program
  • $1,000,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing grants and loans to project sponsors for the construction, remediation, enlargement, closure, or upgrade of regional landfills.
  • $1,000,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing water quality grants under the state water pollution control revolving fund program
  • $150,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of contracting for the preparation of applications and administration of clean water state revolving fund loans under the state water pollution control revolving fund program
  • $150,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of contracting for the preparation of applications and administration of drinking water state revolving fund loans under the state drinking water revolving fund program
  • $250,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing grants to very small community water systems to address drinking water compliance and public health issues.
  • $200,000 to the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources for the purpose of providing small system technical assistance set-aside grants to project sponsors under the state drinking water revolving fund program

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

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. 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.

SB 111 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Repeal the provision that invalidates absentee ballots cast by voters who died before the date of the election.

This bill passed Senate Local Government 5-1 and the Senate floor 34-0. The bill failed a Do Pass motion last week by a vote of 6-6 in House Local Government. After being deferred the bill passed House Local Government 7-5. Here is what I said about the bill before, and stick with: “I don’t really see the purpose of this bill. Election day is election day. I already think SD over-uses early voting. I don’t see a problem with the current law that states if you are not alive on election day that your vote won’t count.”

SB 126 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain publications date citations for references to the International Building Code and International Property Maintenance Code.

There was no opposition to the bill on the Senate side or in House Local Government. This updates references from the 2012 edition of the International Building Code to 2015. This is an area that annoys me actually. If someone wants to find out how to comply with code they need to dish out $131 to find out what the code is for new buildings. This is a way for government officials to over-regulate without making it look like they are doing so.

SB 161 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Allow certain fireworks to be used all year.

This bill was amended in Senate Commerce to remove fountains, sparklers, and ground spinners from the fireworks being added by this bill. All that leaves in the bill is “snakes, and smoke effects, if they do not fly, travel, or explode, to single-shot parachute pieces without a flare”. After being amended it passed the committee 7-0. It was then amended on the Senate floor to put this language into a new section, instead of modifying current code. House Local Government passed the bill 12-0. There really isn’t much left to the bill, why bother at this point?

SB 3 – SoDakLiberty PostsProvide for mediation of certain drainage disputes.

This bill was amended in Senate Ag and passed that committee 8-0. It then passed the Senate floor 32-2. House Agriculture and Natural Resources passed the bill 11-0. This is a HUGE topic… especially here in Brown County, where the County Commissioners act as the drainage board. There have been a lot of incidents where neighbors get into battles (sometimes with fists) over water drainage issues. I don’t see getting the Dept of Ag involved as the answer. Currently cases dealing with drainage issues go to court. This bill would allow mediation of such cases without expense of a court. I have been opposed to this, and still have soft opposition to the bill. But this issue gets hotter and hotter each year in NE South Dakota. Perhaps it is time for an approach such as this to come forward.

House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee has 2 bills on Tues Mar 3

March 2, 2015 1 comment
Geese at the SD State capital building. Photo by Ken Santema 02/24/15.

Geese at the SD State capital building. Photo by Ken Santema 02/24/15.

On Tuesday, March 3rd, at 7:45 AM the SD House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee will take on 2 bills.

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

Sen Jason Frerichs (D, Dist 1) and Rep Brian Gosch (R, Dist 32) are the prime sponsors at the request of the Regional Watershed Advisory Task Force. This bill passed Senate Ag 6-3 after being amended. It then passed the Senate floor 20-12.

Here is what Sen Frerichs has to say about the bill:

Northeast South Dakota and the persistent problem of excess surface water received strong support in the State Senate with passage of SB2. This bill originated from our regional watershed taskforce after studying the issue for three years. SB2 creates nine river basin natural resource districts that cover the entire state for water management. Included in the legislation is a pilot project to take a hands-on look at a potential water and natural resources management plan for a basin district. An oversight legislative taskforce is one more component of SB2 which will draw the boundaries for the districts, identify the framework for water management plans, and identify the necessary powers and duties of the river basin natural resource districts. I serve as the prime sponsor of SB2 and have enjoyed garnering strong support from legislators all across the State. Even more important is the fact that over half of the prevailing votes on SB2 in the Senate came from legislators representing the two largest cities – Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Respect for the need to tackle the problem of water management on an entire basin approach is real, and as a rural legislator, I will continue to build bridges with my urban colleagues. SB2 will be up for a hearing in the House agriculture and natural resources committee and appears to have widespread support.

This is an interesting bill. A big part of me is wary of the bill because it could lead to crazy requirements and overstep of authority as is happening with the EPA. But as a resident of NE SD I have heard about the many water issues here and understand where Frerichs is coming from about excess water. I’ll have to listen to testimony to find out more about this legislation.

SB 3 – SoDakLiberty PostsProvide for mediation of certain drainage disputes.

Sen Mike Vehle (R, Dist 20) and Rep Brian Gosch (R, Dist 32) are the prime sponsors at the request of the Regional Watershed Advisory Task Force. This bill was amended in Senate Ag and passed that committee 8-0. It then passed the Senate floor 32-2. This is a HUGE topic… especially here in Brown County, where the County Commissioners act as the drainage board. There have been a lot of incidents where neighbors get into battles (sometimes with fists) over water drainage issues. I don’t see getting the Dept of Ag involved as the answer. Personally I think keeping the drainage board local to deal with disputes is the best system.

Bills on the SD Senate floor for Weds Feb 25

February 25, 2015 1 comment
SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/24/15.

SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/24/15.

Here are the bills on the SD Senate floor for Wednesday, February 25, which begins at 2:00 PM central. Wednesday is crossover day! All Senate bills have to be dealt with by the end of session on Weds. That means only Senate bills will likely be dealt with.

SECOND READING OF CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS

HB 1005 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Repeal the foundation program fund and references thereto.

HB 1066 – SoDakLiberty PostsClarify that the required notice requirements related to continuing contracts do not apply to employees of postsecondary technical institutes.

HB 1117 – SoDakLiberty PostsProvide for the approval of postsecondary courses for certain nonpublic school students and students receiving alternative instruction.

HB 1217 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions regarding the James River Water Development District.

SECOND READING OF SENATE BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

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. I haven’t listened to testimony on this one, but it raises some potential red flags.

SB 106 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Provide funding for the South Dakota technical institutes, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

This was a hoghouse vehicle bill. It was filled with language to provide $1 to the Department of Education to provide additional funding to the South Dakota technical institutes.and also to make an emergency. It will be interesting to see how much will actually go to the tech schools during the appropriations process. It passed Senate Appropriations 9-0.

SB 176 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Prrovide 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.

SB 193 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Provide for an annual evaluation of state government agencies and require a report.

This bill was hoghoused. Originally it was focused upon economic development incentives. I haven’t had time to study the new bill. It passed Senate Appropriations 9-0.

SB 50 – SoDakLiberty PostsAuthorize the South Dakota Building Authority to provide for the construction, reconstruction, renovation, and modernization of state park facilities and infrastructure at Custer State Park for the Department of Game, Fish and Parks, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

This is a long appropriation bill with a lot of amending. It appropriates $11,500,000 for the Custer project. It passed Senate Appropriations 9-0.

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

This was amended in Senate Appropriations and passed 9-0. I haven’t had time to look at all the changes.

SB 99 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions of the Medicaid contingency fund due to federal legislation, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

This bill was amended in Senate Appropriations and passed 9-0. If I am reading the bill right (a big if), it moves $9,000,000 from the Medicaid contingency fund and moves it to the Department of Social Services. The amendment changed the dollar amount down to $1.

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. 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.

SB 119 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions regarding abandoned mobile and manufactured homes.

This bill was hoghosued in Senate Taxation and passed that committee 4-1. This originally had one little change to code. This now defines a whole process for the event of someone getting the title of an abandoned mobile home voluntarily from the previous owner.

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

This was a hoghouse vehicle bill for Senate State Affairs. Here is the meat of what the taskforce will do per section 2 of the bill:

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

This bill was amended in Senate Commerce and Energy and passed that committee 7-0. 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.

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

This bill passed Senate Appropriations 9-0. This was in the governor’s budget address. ACA has made this contingency fund unnecessary.

SB 4 – SoDakLiberty PostsMake an appropriation for research concerning the administrative and financial impact of actual use on agricultural land assessments and to declare an emergency.

The bill was amended down to $1 and passed Senate Appropriations 6-2. Here are my original notes on the bill:

It was originally assigned to Senate Ag, and then referred to Appropriations. This would appropriate $151,000 for SDSU Department of Economics to research the assessment and taxation of agricultural land based on actual use. The money appropriated would have to be used by June 30, 2016.

SB 3 – SoDakLiberty PostsProvide for mediation of certain drainage disputes.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed Senate Ag 8-0. This is a bad bill. Such mediation does not need to happen at the sate level. Here in Brown County this is a huge issue. Our locally elected County Commission can continue to act in this capacity in Brown County. Let each county decide how best to handle situations where farmers are draining their fields onto neighbors land.

SECOND READING OF HOUSE BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

HB 1079 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise the deadline for the Department of Health’s annual report regarding abortions.

This bill had two no votes on the House side. Earlier this month the bill failed to pass and was tabled by Senate Health. It was then amended to change the deadline from September 13th to now be due at November 15th. The bill then passed Senate Health 7-0. Personally I think this bill had the wrong motivations. It appears the bill is being pushed through so abortion statistics from the state are available for legislation to be pushed in the legislature.

HB 1060 – SoDakLiberty PostsMake an appropriation to reimburse certain family physicians, dentists, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners who have complied with the requirements of the recruitment assistance program and to declare an emergency.

This bill passed all the way through the House and Senate Appropriations with no opposition. It appropriates $381,766. for individuals found to have met the requirements of the program.

HB 1189 – SoDakLiberty PostsMake an appropriation to fund tax refunds for elderly persons and persons with a disability and to declare an emergency.

This bill passed all the way through the House and Senate Appropriations with no opposition. This would appropriate $450,000 for the elderly and disabled persons tax refund program.

HB 1101 – SoDakLiberty PostsEnsure local control over curriculum and methods of instruction.

This bill had no opposition in House Ed, but eight opposed it on the House floor. It made it through Senate ed with no opposition. This bill is a political trick in the battle over Common Core. It could have been done with a resolution. It does nothing.

HB 1027 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions regarding the regulation of certain money lending activities.

* Deferred from yesterday!

It was amended in the House Commerce committee and then passed 12-0. It was amended again slight on the House floor and passed 63-5. It was then further amended in Senate Commerce and Energy and passed that committee 5-1.This bill really has too much going on. I think it maybe should have been multiple bills.

HB 1081 – SoDakLiberty PostsRepeal certain provisions regarding county officials and the board of county commissioners.

* Deferred from yesterday!

Here are my notes about the bill prior to the Senate Local Government committee hearing (which passed the bill 4-3):

This bill was amended in House Local government, where it passed without opposition. It only had three no votes on the house floor. This bill would allow counties to reimburse travel expenses at rates higher than the State sets. I understand this was an issue here in Brown County when gas prices kept going up. This bill also removes the requirement that county commissioners must visit county jails at least once a year.

HB 1080 – SoDakLiberty PostsAuthorize the use of investigational treatments for patients under certain conditions and to restrict certain causes of action arising from investigational treatment.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed Senate Health and Human Services 6-0. Here are my notes prior the Senate Health hearing (which I stick with):

This is an interesting bill. It would allow a doctor to treat a patient that has a currently untreatable condition using an “Investigational drug, biological product, or device”. The investigational treatment must have passed phase one of a clinical trial, but does not need to have been approved yet by the FDA. I like this bill. It makes no sense to hold up a potentially life-saving treatment (or at least symtom-reducing treatment) on a terminal patient that has no other options. I believe this decision should be up to the patient and doctor. The FDA only gets in the way in such situations. And, as the bill states, phase one of clinical trials have to be completed; so these investigational treatments aren’t just a whim of a doctor or medical company.

HB 1089 – SoDakLiberty PostsBan the practice of female genital mutilation in the state, to provide a penalty therefor, and to declare an emergency.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed House Health 12-0 and the House floor 61-6. It passed Senate Health and Human Services 6-0. Here is what I said prior to the Senate Health hearing and stick with:

At this point I hope the Senate gives more scrutiny to the bill than the House did. At first this seemed like a good bill. But the acts described in this bill are already illegal to be performed on a minor. At this point the only reason to vote for the bill is to raise awareness. That is just a bad reason to pass a law. Awareness can be raised outside of codified law.

HB 1130 – SoDakLiberty PostsProhibit an abortion provider from accepting payment for an abortion prior to the end of the required informed consent period.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill passed House Health 10-0. It passed the House floor 63-4. It was amended in Senate Health to remove the prohibition for a commitment of payment. I then passed Senate Health 6-0.

HB 1058SoDakLiberty Posts –  Revise certain provisions regarding contagious disease control quarantine measures and to declare an emergency.

* Deferred from yesterday!

The bill passed the House Health committee 8-5.

It was then amended on the House floor to make it more specific to “middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), smallpox, or viral hemorrhagic fevers”. The emergency clause was also removed at that time. Removing the emergency clause was expected. Without the emergency clause the bill would only need a simple majority to pass the House floor.

After being amended the bill passed the House floor by a vote of 41-27.

It passed Senate Health 5-1.

I expect this to pass the Senate floor. There are a lot of concerns that this bill gives too much power to DOH. I understand those concerns, but I think DOH already has overly broad powers.

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

* Deferred from yesterday!

Many people have gotten worked up about this bill because of the change from may to shall. Personally I don’t think this change actually has any impact. This did not allow any new sharing of immunization records. I understand many people don’t like this law, but fighting this bill won’t change the law. That would need to be done with a separate bill to repeal the current law.

This bill passed the House Health committee 8-5.

It was then 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. I really think amending this bill with a written opt-in would have pacified many detractors. But there is no way the DOH would want to cede that much power…

The bill made it through Senate Health 4-2.

I really don’t think it will be held up in the Senate, but there might be some hot debate.

HB 1043SoDakLiberty Posts – Repeal certain outdated and obsolete provisions regarding the Department of Education.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill was amended in House Ed. After that it passed House Ed and the House floor with no opposition. It passed Senate Ed 5-2.  This bill appears to repeal outdated code.

HB 1013 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions related to social work licensure.

* Deferred from yesterday!

This bill has met with opposition. It passed 12-1 in the House Health, 40-27 on the House Floor, and 4-1 in Senate Health. This bill needs to be defeated. It uses the force of state government to impose the wishes of a protectionist special interest group. It also prevents potentially good social workers from actually performing the job.

LEGISLATIVE COMMEMORATIONS

SC 22 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Honoring the 2014 and 2015 Washington High School students of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and their many achievements.

HC 1022 –  SoDakLiberty Posts – Honoring the Pierre Junior Shooters BB Gun Team for winning the 2014 Daisy National BB Gun Championship.

HC 1023 –  SoDakLiberty Posts – Commending and honoring the Parkston Trojan football team on a successful 2014 season.

HC 1024 –  SoDakLiberty Posts – Honoring the Parkston High School wrestling team and coach Jared Digmann on their accomplishments.

HC 1025 –  SoDakLiberty Posts – Honoring the Parkston High School Girls Golf program and coaches Tyler Hockett and Eric Norden on their accomplishments.

HC 1026 –  SoDakLiberty Posts – Honoring Parkston High School Athletic Director and Girls Basketball Coach Rob Vanlaecken on his career accomplishments and retirement.

HC 1027 –  SoDakLiberty Posts – Congratulating and commending the Yankton High School Bucks football team for winning the 2014 State 11AA Football Championship.

Bills on the SD Senate floor for Tues Feb 24

February 23, 2015 Comments off
SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/11/15.

SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/11/15.

Here are the bills on the SD Senate floor for Tuesday, February 24, which begins at 2:00 PM central. Wednesday is crossover day. All Senate bills must be dealt with by the end of session on Weds. That means only Senate bills will likely be dealt with.

MOTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS

SCR 7 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Commending and recognizing the numerous contributions made by South Dakota’s social workers.

SECOND READING OF CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS

HB 1113 – SoDakLiberty PostsRepeal and revise certain motor vehicle and boat damage and salvage disclosure requirements.

SECOND READING OF SENATE BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

SB 101 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Establish certain provisions regarding cancer treatment medication coverage by insurance companies.

I didn’t like the original version of this bill. It was hoghoused in Senate Health, and passed that committee 6-0. In its original form it was a pure mandate, really bad. The new version of the bill is completely different. I have to hear the testimony to find out if the amended bill is better.

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. Most notably this bill would change the “per student allocation” to $4876.76 for 2016, that is up from $4781.14 in 2015.

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 bill passed Senate Appropriations 8-0. It looks similar to the percentages increased in SB 53.

SB 139 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Authorize the increase in the number of video lottery machines that may be placed in a licensed establishment under certain conditions.

This passed Senate Commerce and Energy 5-2. This would increase the maximum number of video lottery machines from 10 to 15 per licensed establishment.

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

This passed Senate State Affairs 6-0. This is a hoghouse vehicle bill; meaning it doesn’t have any actual legislation. Therefore it will either be amended on the Senate floor and passed on to the House. Or it will be passed on to the House as a blank check. Either way it is bad. It cuts out the public hearing a bill should happen in the chamber of origin.

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

This bill failed on the Senate floor. A motion to reconsider passed. With the prime sponsor Sen Greenfield likely back this week it probably has a better chance of passing.

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.

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. Now it can be heard on the floor. This is a bad bill. I am all for companies providing scholarships for education. But they should be doing it on their own. I am also for private education. But cutting tax deals to specific industries to do so is not the right way to do it.

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

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed Senate State Affairs 9-0. The is probably the worse kind of bill a body can pass. This is a hoghouse vehicle bill. Meaning there is no actual content in the bill. It will simple be passed as is, and then sent to the other chamber. That will allow the bill to be filled in with legislation. Since the bill has already passed one chamber at that point, that means there will not be any public testimony for the bill on the Senate side. If the legislature really feels a bill is important they need to have it ready on time and not use hoghouse vehicle bills in this way!

SB 142 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Enhance South Dakota.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed Senate State Affairs 9-0. The is probably the worse kind of bill a body can pass. This is a hoghouse vehicle bill. Meaning there is no actual content in the bill. It will simple be passed as is, and then sent to the other chamber. That will allow the bill to be filled in with legislation. Since the bill has already passed one chamber at that point, that means there will not be any public testimony for the bill on the Senate side. If the legislature really feels a bill is important they need to have it ready on time and not use hoghouse vehicle bills in this way!

SB 192 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Permit the sergeant-at-arms to carry concealed firearms in the state capitol building under certain conditions.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed Senate Judiciary 5-2. I don’t see a problem with this bill.

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

* Deferred from last week!

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

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

* Deferred from last week!

This was amended by Senate Appropriations from $200,000 down to $1. It then passed the committee 8-0.

SB 3 – SoDakLiberty PostsProvide for mediation of certain drainage disputes.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed Senate Ag 8-0. This is a bad bill. Such mediation does not need to happen at the sate level. Here in Brown County this is a huge issue. Our locally elected County Commission can continue to act in this capacity in Brown County. Let each county decide how best to handle situations where farmers are draining their fields onto neighbors land.

SECOND READING OF HOUSE BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

HB 1027 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions regarding the regulation of certain money lending activities.

It was amended in the House Commerce committee and then passed 12-0. It was amended again slight on the House floor and passed 63-5. It was then further amended in Senate Commerce and Energy and passed that committee 5-1.This bill really has too much going on. I think it maybe should have been multiple bills.

HB 1081 – SoDakLiberty PostsRepeal certain provisions regarding county officials and the board of county commissioners.

* Deferred from last week!

Here are my notes about the bill prior to the Senate Local Government committee hearing (which passed the bill 4-3):

This bill was amended in House Local government, where it passed without opposition. It only had three no votes on the house floor. This bill would allow counties to reimburse travel expenses at rates higher than the State sets. I understand this was an issue here in Brown County when gas prices kept going up. This bill also removes the requirement that county commissioners must visit county jails at least once a year.

HB 1080 – SoDakLiberty PostsAuthorize the use of investigational treatments for patients under certain conditions and to restrict certain causes of action arising from investigational treatment.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed Senate Health and Human Services 6-0. Here are my notes prior the Senate Health hearing (which I stick with):

This is an interesting bill. It would allow a doctor to treat a patient that has a currently untreatable condition using an “Investigational drug, biological product, or device”. The investigational treatment must have passed phase one of a clinical trial, but does not need to have been approved yet by the FDA. I like this bill. It makes no sense to hold up a potentially life-saving treatment (or at least symtom-reducing treatment) on a terminal patient that has no other options. I believe this decision should be up to the patient and doctor. The FDA only gets in the way in such situations. And, as the bill states, phase one of clinical trials have to be completed; so these investigational treatments aren’t just a whim of a doctor or medical company.

HB 1089 – SoDakLiberty PostsBan the practice of female genital mutilation in the state, to provide a penalty therefor, and to declare an emergency.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed House Health 12-0 and the House floor 61-6. It passed Senate Health and Human Services 6-0. Here is what I said prior to the Senate Health hearing and stick with:

At this point I hope the Senate gives more scrutiny to the bill than the House did. At first this seemed like a good bill. But the acts described in this bill are already illegal to be performed on a minor. At this point the only reason to vote for the bill is to raise awareness. That is just a bad reason to pass a law. Awareness can be raised outside of codified law.

HB 1130 – SoDakLiberty PostsProhibit an abortion provider from accepting payment for an abortion prior to the end of the required informed consent period.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill passed House Health 10-0. It passed the House floor 63-4. It was amended in Senate Health to remove the prohibition for a commitment of payment. I then passed Senate Health 6-0.

HB 1058SoDakLiberty Posts –  Revise certain provisions regarding contagious disease control quarantine measures and to declare an emergency.

* Deferred from last week!

The bill passed the House Health committee 8-5.

It was then amended on the House floor to make it more specific to “middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), smallpox, or viral hemorrhagic fevers”. The emergency clause was also removed at that time. Removing the emergency clause was expected. Without the emergency clause the bill would only need a simple majority to pass the House floor.

After being amended the bill passed the House floor by a vote of 41-27.

It passed Senate Health 5-1.

I expect this to pass the Senate floor. There are a lot of concerns that this bill gives too much power to DOH. I understand those concerns, but I think DOH already has overly broad powers.

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

* Deferred from last week!

Many people have gotten worked up about this bill because of the change from may to shall. Personally I don’t think this change actually has any impact. This did not allow any new sharing of immunization records. I understand many people don’t like this law, but fighting this bill won’t change the law. That would need to be done with a separate bill to repeal the current law.

This bill passed the House Health committee 8-5.

It was then 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. I really think amending this bill with a written opt-in would have pacified many detractors. But there is no way the DOH would want to cede that much power…

The bill made it through Senate Health 4-2.

I really don’t think it will be held up in the Senate, but there might be some hot debate.

HB 1043SoDakLiberty Posts – Repeal certain outdated and obsolete provisions regarding the Department of Education.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill was amended in House Ed. After that it passed House Ed and the House floor with no opposition. It passed Senate Ed 5-2.  This bill appears to repeal outdated code.

HB 1013 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions related to social work licensure.

* Deferred from last week!

This bill has met with opposition. It passed 12-1 in the House Health, 40-27 on the House Floor, and 4-1 in Senate Health. This bill needs to be defeated. It uses the force of state government to impose the wishes of a protectionist special interest group. It also prevents potentially good social workers from actually performing the job.

LEGISLATIVE COMMEMORATIONS

SC 19 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Commending and honoring the Lennox School FFA chapter.

SC 20 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Honoring and celebrating Leslie Fylling upon receiving the Teacher of the Year award, presented by the Tea Area Parent Teacher Organization.

SC 21 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Recognizing and commending the 100th anniversary of the Order of the Arrow, the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America.

HC 1021 –  SoDakLiberty Posts – Honoring the 2014 Lincoln High School students.

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