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15 bills killed by Senate committees during SD legislative week 6

February 21, 2016 Comments off

109437318During South Dakota legislative week six there were 15 bills killed by Senate committees. These bills were all killed either by being tabled or by deferring them to the 41st legislative day, which does not exist. Typically a bill said to have been killed in committee means it has been sent to the (nonexistent) 41st day.

HB 1054 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Authorize the production and sale of industrial hemp.

Status: Deferred to the 41st legislative day
SoDakLiberty Stance: Support
Prime Sponsors: Rep Mike Verchio (R, Dist 30) and Sen Troy Heinert (D, Dist 26) are the prime sponsors.

This was amended in House Ag to add this new section:

Only a person licensed to grow or process industrial hemp pursuant to this Act may possess any part, stalk, leaf, bud, flower, or seed of an industrial hemp plant

I looked at this bill section by section a while ago. I won’t re-post that here, it would simply be too long.

I think it is great industrial hemp is actually being looked at. I think there are too many restrictions being placed for it to get too many producers to risk planting hemp. But I support the bill because it is a step forward towards a new cash crop that could really create economic development in South Dakota.

This bill passed the House floor 57-11. It then failed a Do Pass in Senate Ag  4-5 and was killed by a vote of 4-5.

SB 4 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Provide for the assessment of certain agricultural land as noncropland.

Status: Tabled
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Jim Peterson (D, Dist 4) and Rep Mary Duvall (R, Dist 24) are the prime sponsors on behalf of the Agricultural Land Assessment Implementation and Oversight Advisory Task Force.

Peterson asked for this to be tabled. That was mostly because not all counties have a crop and noncrop category.

Here is what I had to say about the bill when it was prefiled, the below statements are based on minutes from the Ag Land Assessment Implementation and Oversight Advisory Task Force:

The piece of legislation would allow grassland to be treated as noncropland.

The original draft of this legislation included this language to determine the classification the guidelines that must be met:

any agricultural land that has been seeded to grass for at least forty years and is used for animal grazing or left unharvested, or is a native grassland

It was amended in committee to the following:

any agricultural land that has been seeded to perennial vegetation for at least thirty years and is used for animal grazing or left unharvested, or is a native grassland,

Public testimony had shown overall support for the bill, but also possible problems with the forty years and “seeded to grass”. After amendment it seemed to get a lot of support and will now be taken up by the legislature. I’m not so sure about the chances of this bill. It will likely be a hot issue. Personally I am softly opposed to this legislation and will remain so until I hear a real good reason to shift tax burden away from certain farmland and on to other land owners.

SB 111 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain provisions regarding the application of the county wheel tax.

Status: Deferred to the 41st legislative day
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Mike Vehle (R, Dist 20) and Rep James Schaefer (R, Dist 26B) are the prime sponsors.

This bill would tax big tires as if they are two tires. That would drive the wheel tax up to $10 per wheel if the vehicle has wide-based super-single tires.

Senate Tax killed the bill 6-2.

SB 115 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Permit car rental companies to include certain fees in a rental agreement.

Status: Tabled
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Larry Tidemann (R, Dist 7) and Rep Fred Romkema (R, Dist 31) are the prime sponsors.

I never heard testimony on this one.

Here is what I said about the bill prior to its previous hearing:

This is an odd bill. It would allow car rental companies to pass on certain costs in the form of fees. These fees can be used to recover “costs incurred by a car rental company to license, title, register, plate, and inspect rental vehicles”. These costs and fees must be tracked. And the next year if they found too many fees were collected they must adjust the fee.

Senate Commerce killed the bill 6-1.

SB 135 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Allow overwidth farm equipment to be operated on primary highways after sunset under certain conditions.

Status: Deferred to the 41st legislative day
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Jim Peterson (D, Dist 4) and Rep Julie Bartling (D, Dist 21) are the prime sponsors.

Transportation killed the bill 7-0.

This bill was submitted to help farmers who have land next to primary roads. During harvest season this has become an issue. But the committee was not buying it.

Actually I don’t think the current law on the books is followed. I’ve seen this equipment move at night many times on highways while I’ve traveled the state.

SB 139 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain provisions regarding the use tax.

Status: Deferred to the 41st legislative day
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Jim Peterson (D, Dist 4) and Rep Dennis Feickert (D, Dist 1) are the prime sponsors.

This bill was apparently a follow up to SB 51 (SoDakLiberty Posts).  The intent of this bill is to ensure that property consumed is subject to use tax for tangible personal property. It somehow would apply to pipeline gas that is consumed.

State Affairs killed the bill 7-1.

SB 144 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the legal maximum weight limits based on the number of axles for gross vehicle weight.

Status: Deferred to the 41st legislative day
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Jason Frerichs (D, Dist 1) and Rep Dennis Feickert (D, Dist 1) are the prime sponsors.

This was a hoghouse vehicle bill. Sen Frerichs had it filled with content. The bill changes the bridge formula slightly.

The bill was killed by Senate Transportation 4-3.

SB 145 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Require certain provisions to be met before allowing public utilities or carriers to exercise eminent domain procedures.

Status: Deferred to the 41st legislative day
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Jason Frerichs (D, Dist 1) and Rep Dean Schrempp (D, Dist 28A) are the prime sponsors.

Section 1 basically says that a utility or carrier has to wait until a projects permits are approved before allowing that entity to go forth with eminent domain. I would like to know if this also applies to various right of ways for certain common carriers.

Section 2 of the bill gives landowners a chance to fight against an eminent domain use that is not wanted.

I think this was a good bill. But it failed a Do Pass in Senate Judiciary 2-5 and was then killed 5-2.

SB 146 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Impose a fee on certain pipelines carrying crude oil and to create a crude oil pipeline compensation fund that may be used in the event of a crude oil spil.

Status: Tabled
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Jason Frerichs (D, Dist 1) and Rep Paula Hawks (D, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors.

This act also creates a crude oil pipeline compensation fund. The max on the fund is $30 millions, and then the tax will stop until the fund falls back down to $5 million.

The bill failed a Do Pass 3-3. It was also amended. But it was then tabled 4-3.

SB 149 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Provide for certain reduced state park entrance fees for veterans.

Status: Deferred to the 41st legislative day
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Billie Sutton (D, Dist 21) and Rep Paula Hawks (D, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors.

Before I go on I’ll say that I am a veteran. But I think it might be getting to a point where too many things are being discounted for veterans. I’m not opposed to this bill, or in favor of it. But I do wonder when bills like this are going to end.

The bill failed a Do Pass in Senate Ag 3-5. It was then killed 5-3.

SB 157 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Provide additional regulations for commercial breeding operations.

Status: Deferred to the 41st legislative day
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Angie Buhl O’Donnell (D, Dist 15) and Rep Timothy Johns (R, Dist 31) are the prime sponsors.

This just seemed to be an odd bill since there was already a process in place.

Senate Judiciary killed the bill 5-1.

SB 164 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain residency requirements for voter registration.

Status: Tabled
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Craig Tieszen (R, Dist 34) and Rep Herman Otten (R, Dist 6) are the prime sponsors.

I am happy to say Senate State Affairs killed this bill 8-1.

Here is what I said about the bill previously:

This would make it harder for RV’ers to register to vote in SD. I have yet see this has been a real problem in SD. A bigger problem that could be caused by this bill is prohibiting the ability of certain people to vote. That is wrong.

So what if some RVers decide to make their home of record in SD in order to avoid taxes. Lets not possibly disenfranchise some voters (such  as homeless) just because some people don’t like a certain class of voters.

SJR 2 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Proposing and submitting to the electors at the next general election a new section to Article XI of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, relating to the imposition of a corporate income tax and dedication of the revenue therefrom.

Status: Deferred to the 41st legislative day
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Bernie Hunhoff (D, Dist 18) and Rep Thomas Brunner (R, Dist 29) are the prime sponsors.

This would impose a 6% corporate income tax to provide property tax relief. I do not like this idea at all. South Dakota does not need an income tax.

Luckily Senate Tax killed the bill 5-2.

SJR 3 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Proposing and submitting to the electors at the next general election amendments to Article III of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, revising the procedure for filling a vacancy in either house of the Legislature.

Status: Deferred to the 41st legislative day
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Bernie Hunhoff (D, Dist 18) and Rep Spencer Hawley (D, Dist 7) are the prime sponsors.

Senate Judiciary killed the bill 5-2.

Here is what I said about the bill before:

This would place another question on the ballot for the 2016 election. Specifically it would make the following modification to the SD Constitution:

§ 10. The Governor shall make appointments to fill such vacancies asLegislature shall provide procedures for conducting an election to fill any vacancy that may occur in either house of the Legislature.

A few years ago I would have said this was a silly change… But over the last few years there have been a record number of executive appointments to the legislature due to vacated seats. I’m going to listen to testimony on this one, it might be a good idea.

I will admit due to our short terms that this might not have been a good way to go.

SJR 4 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Proposing and submitting to the electors at the next general election an amendment to Article IV, section 3 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, relating to the powers and duties of the Governor.

Status: Deferred to the 41st legislative day
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2) and Rep Isaac Latterell (R, Dist 6) are the prime sponsors.

This bill was killed in Senate State Affairs 8-1.

Here is what I previously said about the bill:

Here is the biggest change the voters of SD would be asked to approve on the ballot this fall:

If a vacancy occurs in an office of United States senator for the state, the Governor shall convene a special session of the Legislature. The Legislature shall vote to fill the vacancy from among the current members of the Legislature, to hold office until the next election.

Actually I both like and dislike this proposal. First, I think the legislature should be choosing a replacement in the event a US Senate seat is open. US Senators used to be appointed by the state legislators anyhow. This is a highly relevant topic because Senator Thune is a possible candidate to receive a cabinet position in 2017 if there is a Republican President.

The part I’m not exactly in agreement with is that the vacancy should be filled by a current state legislator. I think it is likely the SD legislature would do that anyhow. But why set it in the SD Constitution that it has to be one of them?

Three bills prefiled by the Ag Land Assessment Task Force

December 29, 2015 2 comments
Wheat's grassland © Evgeny Zarzhitsky | Dreamstime.com

Wheat’s grassland © Evgeny Zarzhitsky | Dreamstime.com

I was looking at the bills pre-filed so far for the 2016 South Dakota legislative session and noticed the Ag Land Assessment Task Force has three bills ready to go. I briefly posted about the draft legislation prior to the November 2 Ag Land Assessment Task Force meeting. In this post I will look briefly at the three bills submitted for the 2016 session.

HB 1007 (SoDakLiberty Posts) –Make an appropriation to revise and update the values and methods used to determine the agricultural land production capacity and to declare an emergency.

Here is how this legislation was explained during the December 7 Task Force meeting:

Mr. Baatz stated that the draft proposes a general fund appropriation of $175,000 for the purpose of requesting South Dakota State University’s (SDSU) Department of Economics to conduct research concerning the data and methods used to determine the agricultural land production capacity and update the data used in the soil tables.

There was a lot of support from public testimony for this legislation. Last year this legislation failed on the Senate floor 16-18. That was SB 4 (SoDakLiberty Posts), which asked for $151,000 (although Senate Appropriations reduced it to $1 as they like to do).

SB 3 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the income criteria for determining if property is classified as agricultural land for property tax purposes.

During the November 2 meeting this was said about this legislation:

Senator Larry Tidemann said the goal of the draft bill is to keep ag land in production, and answered questions on the criteria being proposed. Mr. Rhoden said going to a percent of assessed value to satisfy the ag income criteria makes sense and should be further discussed.

During the December 7 meeting Mike Wiese of Aberdeen mentioned concerns about landlord and tenant income in the following test of the proposed legislation:

If there is a crop share arrangement, the gross income of both the landlord and tenant shall be combined and used to meet this criteria.

This legislation I’m not sure about. This legislation didn’t recieve public testimony against it in the task force, but it also didn’t seem to get any public testimony supporting it. I’ll have to listen to the upcoming committee testimony and learn more about the actual changes.

SB 4 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Provide for the assessment of certain agricultural land as noncropland.

The piece of legislation would allow grassland to be treated as noncropland.

The original draft of this legislation included this language to determine the classification the guidelines that must be met:

any agricultural land that has been seeded to grass for at least forty years and is used for animal grazing or left unharvested, or is a native grassland

It was amended in committee to the following:

any agricultural land that has been seeded to perennial vegetation for at least thirty years and is used for animal grazing or left unharvested, or is a native grassland,

Public testimony had shown overall support for the bill, but also possible problems with the forty years and “seeded to grass”. After amendment it seemed to get a lot of support and will now be taken up by the legislature. I’m not so sure about the chances of this bill. It will likely be a hot issue. Personally I am softly opposed to this legislation and will remain so until I hear a real good reason to shift tax burden away from certain farmland and on to other land owners.

Ag Land Assessment Task Force will look at four pieces of draft legislation

November 1, 2015 Comments off
Grassland. Photo by Ken Santema.

Grassland. Photo by Ken Santema.

On Monday, November 2, the Ag Land Assessment Task Force will have a meeting at 10am in Pierre. The agenda for this meeting can be viewed here. I’m looking at the documents for this meeting and see there are four pieces of draft legislation to be discussed.

In the 2015 legislative session there were five bills brought forth by this task force. Here is the list of those bills:

  • SB 4 – Defeated on Senate floor – SoDakLiberty PostsMake an appropriation for research concerning the administrative and financial impact of actual use on agricultural land assessments and to declare an emergency.
  • SB 5 – Signed by Governor – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions concerning the assessment and taxation of real property.
  • SB 6 – Withdrawn – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions concerning the pension and capital outlay tax levies for school districts.
  • SB 7 – Withdrawn – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions concerning the school district pension fund and capital outlay fund tax levies and to provide property tax opt-out procedures for the capital outlay levy.
  • SB 44 – Deferred to the 41st legislative day – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise the criteria for classifying property as agricultural land and to provide for additional requirements for small agricultural acreages and timber land to be classified as agricultural land.

SB 5 was the only bill the task force was able to get passed in 2015, and it was called cleanup by the task force. The bill mainly appears to have removed Nonagricultural acreage property from property taxes classification

Here is a brief look at the four pieces of draft legislation.

SDSU Research

An Act to make an appropriation to revise and update the values and methods used to determine the agricultural land production capacity and to declare an emergency.

This draft legislation would conduct “research concerning the value and methods used to determine agricultural land production capacity and to update the data used in the soil tables”. There is also an appropriation of $175,000 to allow SDSU to conduct the research.

Grassland

An Act to provide for the assessment of certain agricultural land as noncropland

The second piece of draft legislation would allow grassland to be treated as noncropland. To get this classification the following guidelines must be met: “any agricultural land that has been seeded to grass for at least forty years and is used for animal grazing or left unharvested, or is a native grassland”.

Ag Land Classification Criteria

An Act to revise the criteria for determining if property is 2 agricultural land for property tax purposes.

This draft legislation appears to take aim at people who will plant a few trees and call their land ag. It should be interesting to see if such legislation will move forward in 2016.

Ag Income Classification Criteria

An Act to revise the income criteria for determining if property is 2 classified as agricultural land for property tax purposes

Part of this draft legislation modifies the income criteria. An interesting addition to this legislation is “any state-owned public shooting area or a state-owned game production area as identified pursuant to § 41-4-8 that is owned and managed by the Department of Game, Fish and Parks shall be assessed and taxed as agricultural land.”

 

Ag Land Assessment Task Force meeting on Monday, July 20

July 18, 2015 Comments off
Land in west river SD. Photo by Ken Santema 07/12/15

Land in west river SD. Photo by Ken Santema 07/12/15

On Monday, July 20, the Agricultural Land Assessment Implementation and Oversight Advisory Task Force will have its first meeting in Pierre. The agenda for the meeting can be found here.

Ag Land Assessment has been a huge issue each year in Pierre, and will likely continue to be. In the 2015 session there was an attempt to “Make an appropriation for research concerning the administrative and financial impact of actual use on agricultural land assessments and to declare an emergency”. That was SB 4 (SoDakLiberty Posts), and it was barely defeated on the Senate floor by a vote of 16-18.

Back in March Rep Dennis Feickert (D, Dist 1) spoke about SB4 during the Brown County Democrats meeting. Here is what I reported at that time:

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.

Additionally I spoke with a good number of people at the recent Governors Ag Summit in Deadwood. It was quite noticeable to many attendees that the topic of taxing agricultural land was absent. I have a feeling that going into 2016 there may be more pressure on the Department of Ag to include this as a topic of the Ag Summit.

Below is the agenda for this Ag Land Assessment meeting. Notice how there is a review of the School District General Fund Formula included in the agenda.

Room 413 State Capitol Building
Monday, July 20, 2015

10:30 a.m. Call to Order
Determination of Quorum

10:35 a.m. Election of Officers

10:45 a.m. Review of the School District General Fund Formula
Tami Darnall, Chief Financial Officer, Department of Education

11:30 a.m. Report on Professional Range Management Class
Task Force Members who attended

11:35 a.m. Overview of Property Assessment Legislative
Fred Baatz, Principal Research Analyst, Legislative Research Council

11:45 a.m. Lunch

1:00 p.m. Overview of Property Assessment Legislative (cont.)
Fred Baatz, Principal Research Analyst, Legislative Research Council

1:30 p.m. Ag Land Assessment – Report on the 2016 Assessment Information
Michael Houdyshell, Director, Division of Property and Special Taxes,
Department of Revenue

2:30 p.m. Task Force Discussion

3:00 p.m. Public Testimony

3:30 p.m. Staff Directives; Next Meeting Date

3:45 p.m. Adjourn

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).

Bills killed on the House and Senate floors during SD legislative week seven

March 1, 2015 2 comments
SD State capital dome. Photo by Ken Santema 01/22/15.

SD State capital dome. Photo by Ken Santema 01/22/15.

With week seven of the SD legislative session completed it is time to update my list of 2015 SD legislative bills. This post will focus on bills that have been killed on the House and Senate floors during week seven. My post looking at the bills that died in the first six weeks can be read here.

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

This bill originally would have appropriated $151,000 for the 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 4 was amended down to $1 in Senate Appropriations. It passed that committee 6-2. The bill failed on the Senate floor by a vote of 16-18. This is a hot issue that will likely be tried again next year.

SB 139 – Defeated on Senate floor – 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. On the Senate floor it was amended to add the provision that only fourteen thousand video lottery machines in total can be placed in South Dakota. Personally I don’t think a large amount of facilities would have taken advantage of this new increased limit per establishment. But we won’t know this year. The Senate floor defeated the bill 13-21.

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

This bill passed Senate Judiciary 5-2. At first I didn’t see a problem with this bill. But after further thought I am glad the bill died. In the end the sergeant-at-arms in each chamber probably don’t want to carry firearms. This bill came too close to using the sergeant-at-arms positions in a political way to make a statement. This bill was tabled on the Senate floor by a vote of 34-0.

HB 1162 – Defeated on House floor – SoDakLiberty PostsEnact the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Compact.

This bill passed House Commerce 8-5. This would have adopted the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Compact. I was on the fence about this bill before its committee hearing. After the hearing I believe this is a bad bill. I don’t believe the proponents made the case that this compact is actually necessary. In fact it almost seemed as if the Compact was being pushed because everyone else is. That alone is not reason enough to enter in a compact. The bill was amended on the House floor to opt out of all long-term care provisions dealing with the compact. That seemed odd. Apparently I’m not the only who found this whole bill needed to go away. The bill failed on the House floor by a vote of 9-60.

HB 1166 – Defeated on House floor – SoDakLiberty PostsProhibit the use of tanning devices by minors.

This bill failed once in House Health. It was then amended to allow minors to use tanning devices with a parent/guardian permission. It then passed House Health 8-5. It was amended on the house floor to specify the parent/guardian permission must be written. Then the bill failed on the House floor 29-40. This is a bill that was better off to let die. It was an intrusion into an industry that already follows what this law was trying to impose upon small business owners. Plus, it is doubtful this being passed into law would have prevented teens from using tanning beds.

HB 1221 – Defeated on House floor – SoDakLiberty PostsAuthorize unilateral consent in certain divorce proceedings.

This passed House Judiciary 7-5. The odd thing about this one is that the title was amended to change the language away from no-fault divorce. This bill was hotly debate on the House floor. I didn’t really think a bill that would make divorce easier would pass through the legislature. The House failed to pass the bill by a vote of  25-44. I still feel such bills show why government should get completely out of marriage. That would make it a matter between two people and their church.

HB 1223 – Defeated on House floor – SoDakLiberty PostsEnd the state’s involvement with common core state standards and to prohibit the adoption of certain multistate educational standards.

This is a bill I hoped would have a true hearing on the House floor. The long version of this bills history can be read here. But the cliff notes version is the bill was tabled in House Education to stop debate and kill the bill. Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) led a smoke-out on the bill, which is a procedural move to force a bill onto the floor from committee. The House Ed committee was then forced to send the bill to the floor, and did so with a Do Not Pass status. Due to the Do Not Pass motion it was still not allowed on the House calendar. So then Rep Kaiser had to ask the House floor to strike the Not from the motion and allow the bill to be calendared for debate. That move failed 31-39. Too bad. I truly believe certain issues transcend the normal committee process and deserve a full debate on the floor. That debate will not happen this year.

HB 1227 – Defeated on House floor – SoDakLiberty PostsAuthorize counties to impose sales and use taxes.

This bill passed House taxation 9-6. This bill would have allowed a county to implement a sales and use tax up to two cents. I know there are some counties that have been pushing for this ability. The bill also provides a good debate of local control versus the state keeping taxes low. But no matter what I didn’t think this bill would make it all the way through the legislature. With the massive transportation funding bill upcoming it is unlikely the legislature would pass another potential huge tax increase this year (although it really would be counties raising taxes if this bill passed).

HB 1233 – Defeated on House floor – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions regarding tax compacts with Indian tribes.

This was a hoghouse vehicle bill. But oddly enough this bill just took the content of HB 1234 and placed it into this vehicle bill. It passed House Taxation 12-3. This is an odd one for me, probably because I don’t understand tribal compacts with the State. The proponents of this bill said the changes were required for the tribes to talk with the state about certain tax agreements and for the tribes to keep some of their money. I hope to meet with someone later this week to better understand the topic. Even though the bill is dead for this year, I can definitely see it coming back next year if it truly is important to the tribes. But at the same time it almost appears the tribes want to have the best of both worlds, they want to take money from state and still receive benefits from the state those tax dollars would have gone towards. Like I said though I need to understand the situation better, perhaps my impression is wrong. The bill died on the House floor 25-44.

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.

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