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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).

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.

Senate Appropriations committee has 7 bills on Tues Feb 24

February 23, 2015 4 comments

sacoOn Tuesday, February 24th, at 9:00 AM the SD Senate Appropriations committee will take on 7 bills.

*** This meeting is important. All Senate bills have to be moved on the floor for Crossover day on Wednesday. Three of these bills are Senate bills, so they must have action taken during this meeting.

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.

The SD Bureau of Finance and Management (BFM) asked for this bill. This bill passed House Appropriations 8-0 and the House floor 58-11. This 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.

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.

The Department of Health (DOH) asked for this bill. It passed through the House with no opposition. This one appropriates $381,766. for individuals found to have met the requirements of the program.

HB 1188 – SoDakLiberty PostsMake an appropriation to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to develop a hydrologic model of the lower Big Sioux River Basin in southeast South Dakota and to declare an emergency.

The SD Office of the Governor asked for this bill. This originally appropriated $500,000 for this project, but was amended down to $1 in House Appropriations, where it passed 9-0. It went on to pass the House floor 53-14.

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

The SD Office of the Governor asked for this bill. This would appropriate $450,000 for the elderly and disabled persons tax refund program. It made it through the House with no opposition.

BILLS FOR POSSIBLE ACTION WHICH HAVE HAD PRIOR HEARING.

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.

Sen Jim Peterson (D, Dist 4) and Rep Justin Cronin (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors of this bill at the request of the Agricultural Land Assessment Implementation and Oversight Advisory Task Force. 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. This should be an interesting one to listen to. There are quite a few people who would like to change how ag land is assessed and taxed.

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

The SD Bureau of Finance and Management (BFM) asked for this bill. This was in the governor’s budget address. ACA has made this contingency fund unnecessary.

SB 146 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Authorize funding for an honor guard detail for deceased veterans and to make an appropriation therefor.

Sen Jim Peterson (D, Dist 4) and Rep Spencer Hawley (D, Dist 7) are the prime sponsors. The appropriation part of this bill appropriates $35,000 to the Department of Veterans Affairs to reimburse a veterans organization to furnish an honor guard detail at the funeral of deceased veterans.

Senate Appropriations committee has 19 bills on Fri Feb 20

February 19, 2015 1 comment
American Money 2 © Dana Rothstein | Dreamstime Stock Photos

American Money 2 © Dana Rothstein | Dreamstime Stock Photos

On Friday, February 20th, at 8:00 AM the SD Senate Appropriations committee will take on 19 bills.

** This meeting is important. Next Tuesday is the last opportunity for committees to get the bills from their chamber moved on to floor.

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

The Bureau of Finance and Management (BFM) is the source of this bill. I haven’t yet had time to actually research the changes made with this bill.

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.

Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) and Rep Justin Cronin (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors. 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.

SB 106 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Provide funding for the South Dakota technical institutes.

Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23) and Rep Dan Dryden (R, Dist 34) are the prime sponsors. This is a hoghouse vehicle bill.

SB 145 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Accommodate legislation to increase teacher pay in South Dakota.

Sen Billie Sutton (D, Dist 21) and Rep Julie Bartling (D, Dist 21) are the prime sponsors. This is a hoghouse vehicle bill.

SB 147 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Expand Medicaid.

Sen Bernie Hunhoff (D, Dist 18) and Rep Spencer Hawley (D, Dist 7) are the prime sponsors. This is listed as a hoghouse vehicle bill. But it does actually have the following content:

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to expand Medicaid.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Section 1. That chapter 28-6 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:
    The department shall expand the medical services program provided for in § 28-6-1 in accordance with the provisions of Title XIX of the federal Social Security Act, as amended to July 1, 2012, to include individuals with income up to one hundred thirty-three percent of the federal poverty level plus five percent for the applicable family size.
    This section is repealed in the event that the federal Title XIX federal medical assistance percentage for this expanded income group is less than ninety percent.

SB 169 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Provide medical care for certain unborn children.

Sen Bernie Hunhoff (D, Dist 18) and Rep Roger Hunt (R, Dist 25) are the prime sponsors. This bill was amended in Senate Health and then passed 4-1. The amendment took away the words “unless the abortion is necessitated by a medical emergency as defined in subdivision” where the act forbids this program to be used for abortion. The bill was then refereed to Senate Appropriations.

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

Sen Tim Rave (R, Dist 25) and Rep Jacqueline Sly (R, Dist 33) are the prime sponsors. This would appropriate $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.” Wow, is this really where money for education should be going?

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

Sen Larry Tidemann (R, Dist 7) and Rep Scott Munsterman (R, Dist 7) are the prime sponsors. This would appropriate:

  • $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 193 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Provide for an annual evaluation of economic development incentives.

The Committee on Taxation is the source of this bill. I really don’t like this bill. Economic development done by the state is just the executive branch picking winners and losers in the market.  I have a feeling this bill would be used to further the executives branches reach into the market.

BILLS FOR POSSIBLE ACTION WHICH HAVE HAD PRIOR HEARING.

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.

Sen Jim Peterson (D, Dist 4) and Rep Justin Cronin (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors of this bill at the request of the Agricultural Land Assessment Implementation and Oversight Advisory Task Force. 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. This should be an interesting one to listen to. There are quite a few people who would like to change how ag land is assessed and taxed.

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 originates from the Department of Game, Fish and Parks. This appropriates $11,500,000 for the Custer project.

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

The SD Bureau of Finance and Management (BFM) asked for this bill. This was in the governor’s budget address. ACA has made this contingency fund unnecessary.

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

The SD Bureau of Finance and Management (BFM) asked for this bill. I’ll have to listen to the hearing to better understand why this fund transfer is being repealed.

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 was originally assigned to the Senate State Affairs committee, but was then moved referred to Senate Appropriations. The SD Bureau of Finance and Management (BFM) asked for this bill.  I won’t go into detail on this one. But 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.

A BFM bill to go along with SB 53. This one is for the special education formula. It looks similar to the percentages increased in SB 53.

SB 144 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Establish a tuition reimbursement program for certain teachers who teach in rural school districts.

Sen Billie Sutton (D, Dist 21) and Rep Paula Hawks (D, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors. This is an act to do just what the title says. A big provision of this is the teacher has to stay at the rural school for five years.

SB 146 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Authorize funding for an honor guard detail for deceased veterans and to make an appropriation therefor.

Sen Jim Peterson (D, Dist 4) and Rep Spencer Hawley (D, Dist 7) are the prime sponsors. The appropriation part of this bill appropriates $35,000 to the Department of Veterans Affairs to reimburse a veterans organization to furnish a honor guard detail at the funeral of deceased veterans.

SB 157 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Make an appropriation to the state aeronautics fund.

Sen Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2) and Rep Al Novstrup (R, Dist 3) are the prime sponsors. This appropriates $3,033,581 to be used for airport improvements.

SB 163 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Make an appropriation to fund the Teach for America grant program.

Sen Bruce Rampelberg (R, Dist 30) and Rep Elizabeth May (R, Dist 27) are the prime sponsors. This provides funding for the Teach for America grant program for four years. It appropriates $500,000.

Senate Ag has two bills on Tues Feb 3

February 2, 2015 1 comment

farmerblockprintOn Tuesday, February 3rd, at 10:00 AM the SD Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources committee will take on 2 bills.

HB 1014SoDakLiberty Posts – Repeal certain obsolete and unnecessary statutes relating to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

This bill passed the House Ag committee and House floor with no opposition. Here is what I had to say prior to the House Ag committee meeting:

This bill comes at the request of the SD Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR). This bill would remove five pieces of old codified law. This is the type of bill I like. It removes old code and adds nothing to codified law. Looking through the repealed provisions I don’t see any red flags.

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.

Sen Jim Peterson (D, Dist 4) and Rep Justin Cronin (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors of this bill at the request of the Agricultural Land Assessment Implementation and Oversight Advisory Task Force. 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 approriated would have to be used by June 30, 2016. This should be an interesting one to listen to. There are quite a few people who would like to change how ag land is assessed and taxed.

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