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Only one of three vetoes were overturned by the SD legislature

April 1, 2015 Comments off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 bills vetoed by Governor Daugaard on March 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A brief look at the 17 concurrent resolutions before the SD legislature in 2015

March 18, 2015 3 comments
Art within the SD State Capital building. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15.

Art within the SD State Capital building. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15.

A couple of weeks ago I noted the 36 Commemorations passed by the SD House and 29 Commemorations passed by the SD Senate during the 2015 legislative session. I thought it was time to look at how the Concurrent Resolutions fared this legislative session. There were 9 concurrent resolutions introduced in the House and 8 concurrent resolutions introduced in the Senate. Two of the House concurrent resolutions failed and none of the Senate concurrent resolutions failed.

A concurrent resolution has a little bit more importance than a commemoration. Here is the definition of a concurrent resolution from the Joint Rules manual:

A concurrent resolution expresses the opinion or a principle of the Legislature not having the force of law. A concurrent resolution shall only be used to authorize interim studies, joint rules, sessions or committees, to instruct a department of state government, or to petition federal agencies;

I would say a concurrent resolution is a way for the Legislature to communicate with another organization or body.

Here are all of the concurrent resolutions introduced this year and their final disposition. I’ve added a thought or two for each resolution. But I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at these, they really don’t have the same impact as bills do.

HCR 1001 SoDakLiberty Posts – Recognizing the difference between the taxes and fees levied by the State of South Dakota.

This is a concurrent resolution I actually did a whole post onRep Jim Bolin (R, Dist 16) and Sen Dan Lederman were the sponsors of this resolution. Apparently this resolution was brought forth because some politicians hate it when they get attacked for passing fee increases, that are then called tax increases by many of that follow what happens in Pierre. Plus, I think the true reason for passing this resolution was of the massive infrastructure tax hikes that were in the spotlight this legislative session. The resolution passed in the House 57-10 and in the Senate 24-11. My final thought on this resolution is that a tax and fee feel the same from a taxpayer perspective…

HCR 1002SoDakLiberty Posts – Supporting the continued operation of the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery.

Rep Fred Romkema (R, Dist 31) and Sen Bob Ewing (R, Dist 31) were the sponsors of this one. This one passed both chambers without opposition. This basically urges the federal congressional delegation, federal agencies, and state agencies involved with the hatchery to continue supporting it.

HCR 1003SoDakLiberty Posts – Urging Congress and the President of the Unites States to abolish the United States Department of Education.

Rep Jim Bolin (R, Dist 16) and Sen Betty Olson (R, Dist 28) were the prime sponsors of this bill. It passed through the House 48-20 and barely passed the Senate by a vote of 19-15. Actually this was the one part of the campaign from Senator Rounds that I agree with. Getting rid of the massive bureaucracy from the Federal Department of Education would allow those valuable tax dollars to actually be spent on education. I would think that anyone that actually cares about teachers and public education would want to get rid of this misguided bureaucracy. Sadly that will never happen. Never-mind the fact that education has not improved since the time the Department of Education was formed.

HCR 1004 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Addressed to the United States Supreme Court setting forth certain facts and expressly enumerating the grievances of the People of the State of South Dakota, through their elected representatives, with that Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), and its progeny and calling for that Court to now protect the intrinsic, natural, fundamental rights of the children of our State and nation and the intrinsic, natural, fundamental rights of their pregnant mothers in their relationship with their children, and the mothers’ health by reconsidering and overturning the court’s decision in Roe.

Rep Roger Hunt (R, Dist 25) and Sen Tim Rave (R, Dist 25) are the prime sponsors. This passed through the House 60-10 and the Senate 25-9. This is a very, very, very, very, very, very, long resolution (did I say very?). Actually the resolution does go into some areas as to why Roe v. Wade should go before the Supreme Court again. Personally I don’t think the decision would go differently. But there were many problems with how the original case went and even those who agree with the decision should want SCOTUS to take it up again.

HCR 1005 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Urging Congress to propose the regulation freedom amendment to the United States Constitution.

Rep Jim Stalzer (R, Dist 11) and Sen Jenna Haggar (R, Dist 10) are the prime sponsors. This resolution passed through the House 56-14 and the Senate 25-8. This resolution asks for Congress to pass an amendment I actually agree with. Here is the actual wording to the regulation freedom amendment:

Whenever one quarter of the Members of the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate transmit to the President their written declaration of opposition to a proposed federal regulation, it shall require a majority vote of the House and Senate to adopt that regulation.

HCR 1006 – SoDakLiberty PostsTo request that a plan be developed for a state ethics commission.

Rep Peggy Gibson (D, Dist 22) and Sen Bernie Hunhoff (D, Dist 18) are the prime sponsors. Sadly this resolution failed on the House floor 16-53. I think restoring the state ethics commission would go a long way to restore people’s faith in how the state government operates. During testimony it was mentioned the previous state ethics commission was used as a political weapon against certain people. I think lessons learned from those days can be used to create a new commission that can be non-partisan. Sadly we won’t know. This was one more sign that those in power in Pierre don’t want anything to change.

HCR 1007 – SoDakLiberty PostsOpposing the EPA’s guidelines to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants in a manner that will cause economic harm.

Rep Don Haggar (R, Dist 10) and Sen Bruce Rampelberg (R, Dist 30) were the prime sponsors. It passed the House floor 60-9 and the Senate floor 32-0. I found it odd the Democrats on the House floor chose to oppose this bill. Right or wrong, SD is very reliant upon fuel-fired power at this time. Shutting down that power would have severe and drastic repercussions for the affordability of electricity to the people of South Dakota. I don’t think anyone disagrees that in the long-term coal and fossil-fuels have to go. But allowing the EPA to overstep its legal authority and force economic disaster upon the state is not an end to that means.

HCR 1008 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Urging Congress and the President to recognize tribal identification cards as a valid form of identification for all official purposes.

Rep Kevin Killer (D, Dist 27) and Sen Troy Heinert (D, Dist 26) are the prime sponsors. It passed the House 49-20 and the Senate 31-2. Basically this is asking Congress and the President to recognize tribal identification cards as REAL ID compliant. I don’t really like REAL ID, but I don’t see a problem with the tribes wanting to have their ID’s be recognized so they can get a state or federal issued ID.

HCR 1009 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Designating 2015 as the “Year of Remembrance for the Centennial Since the Commencement of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923” in South Dakota and urging Congress and the President of the United States to formally and consistently recognize and reaffirm the historical truth that the atrocities committed against the Armenian, Greek, and other Christians living in their historical homelands in Anatolia constituted genocide and to work towards equitable, stable, and durable Armenian-Turkish relations and a fair, just, and comprehensive international resolution of this crime against humanity.

Rep Steve Hickey (R, Dist 9) is the prime sponsor of this bill. Notice I didn’t mention a Senate prime sponsor. That is because Hickey failed to get a Senator to actually sign on as the prime sponsor. So Sen Jim Bradford (D, Dist 27) ended up being the Senate prime only because his name was first in the alphabetical listing. The resolution passed the House 51-17. It was then killed in the Senate by a table vote of 30-4. The lesson here is to make sure there is a Prime Sponsor in each chamber to get a resolution passed.

SCR 1 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Commending the improvements to health care in South Dakota achieved by the system of care established by the community-based Mission: Lifeline initiative.

Sen Tim Rave (R, Dist 25) and Rep Jean Hunhoff (R, Dist 18) were the prime sponsors. This passed through both chambers without opposition. Just a nice commemoration for the volunteers of the Mission: Lifeline task force.

SCR 2 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Endorsing the thirty-first anniversary of sister state relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan), Taiwan’s inclusion in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Taiwan’s participation as an observer in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Sen Tim Rave (R, Dist 25) and Rep Roger Hunt (R, Dist 25) are the prime sponsors. It passed the Senate 35-0 and the House 64-3. This is the only resolution I wish had not passed, and I feel some legislators will regret supporting some day. II have no problem with endorsing Taiwan. But I do have a problem with TPP. I wrote a post explaining why the SD Senate passed a bad resolution. Basically TPP is NOT a trade agreement. If passed it would allow a lot of regulation through this trade agreement. These regulations could not be stopped by US Congress or the SD legislature. Sadly our federal congressional delegation is pushing for TPP because it would benefit agricultural trade. I do agree portions of TPP would do that, but at what cost…

SCR 3 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Recognizing the mutual benefit between health care sharing and health savings accounts.

Sen Phil Jensen (R, Dist 33) and Rep Scott Craig (R, Dist 33) are the prime sponsors. It passed through the Senate 25-8 and the House 59-8. I really liked this resolution. It took aim at what I feel were among the worse changes to come from ACA.

SCR 4 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Urging Congress to support equity and sales tax fairness.

Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) and Rep Justin Cronin (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors. It passed the Senate 34-0 and the House 64-5. This resolution pushes for the passing of the Marketplace Fairness Act; aka the Internet Sales Tax. I wrote about this act two years ago. I also noted that both SD Senators voted to pass the internet sales tax at that time. After I am recovered from the legislative session I have a series of posts I plan on doing about the MPA. Having worked with some Amazon sellers that are complying with a smaller version of this I have already noticed major problems. This was not a good concept for a conservative legislature to support.

SCR 5 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Supporting a stronger South Dakota-China relationship.

Sen Dan Lederman (R, Dist 16) and Rep Jim Bolin (R, Dist 16) are the prime sponsors. It passed through the Senate 28-4 and the House 57-11. I know some legislators opposed this bill because of the government of China. But I think building a relationship with China is a good thing. The best way to spread open markets with China is to build a good cultural relationship with them. Plus I was happy to see this resolution didn’t mention TPP.

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

Sen Deb Soholt (R, Dist 14) and Rep Jacqueline Sly (R, Dist 33) are the prime sponsors. It passed through both chambers with no opposition. This is a resolution I agree with. Had it been done through actual legislation I feel it would have been overstepping local control. But resolution basically says the state Dept of Ed should ensure SD students are taking a U.S. Government course that covers the contents of the U.S. Citizenship Civic’s Test. It is left vague enough that I don’t see it as an actual mandate on local school districts.

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

Sen Angie Buhl O’Donnell (D, Dist 15) and Rep Julie Bartling (D, Dist 21) are the prime sponsors. This passed through the Senate 35-0 and the House 66-2. I really didn’t pay attention to this one. I don’t see a problem with this resolution, but I wonder if some of the social conservatives that voted yes to this resolution actually read it…

SCR 8 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Condemning the growing anti-Semitism in certain countries and extending an invitation to Jewish families from around the world to South Dakota.

Sen Dan Lederman (R, Dist 16) and Rep Jim Bolin (R, Dist 16) are the prime sponsors. It passed through both chambers with no opposition. Another one I really didn’t pay attention to. But I see no problem with it.

House Appropriations committee has 14 bills on Fri Mar 6

March 5, 2015 1 comment

walletOn Friday, March 6th, at 8:00 AM the SD House Appropriations committee will take on 14 bills.

SB 99 is the only new addition from the same post for Thurs March 5.

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

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

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

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. 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.

BILLS FOR POSSIBLE ACTION WHICH HAVE HAD PRIOR HEARING.

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

Sen Bruce Rampelberg (R, Dist 30) and Rep Mike Verchio (R, Dist 30) are the prime sponsors. This bill passed Senate Appropriations 8-0 after being amended. This appropriates $1,900,000 to continue the fight against the pine beetles. As usual the bill was amended down to $1 so the bill could advance. The bill passed the Senate floor 32-1.

SB 52 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise 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. This was amended in Senate Appropriations and passed 6-3. It was then amended on the Senate floor and passed 30-4. I’ll have to listen to this testimony. For some reason I can’t recall what was said about it on the Senate floor.

This bill was amended in House Appropriations to remove all of its amendments. Here is the wording of the amendment that did that:

On the Senate engrossed bill, delete all amendments, thus restoring the bill to the printed version.

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

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

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

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

Sen Tim Rave (R, Dist 25) and Rep Jacqueline Sly (R, Dist 33) are the prime sponsors. This bill originally appropriated $500,000 “to the Department of Education for the purpose of providing for the development of online resources and a rubric of textbook analysis that meets South Dakota content standards, both of which shall be made available for use in school districts at no cost.” It was amended down to $1 and given the emergency clause. It passed Senate Appropriations 9-0 and the Senate floor 34-0.

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

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

This has already been amended once in House Appropriations. Now it appropriates $6,829,400.

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.

The SD Bureau of Finance and Management (BFM) asked for this bill. This bill passed Senate Appropriations 8-0 and the Senate floor 25-10. Most notably this bill would change the “per student allocation” to $4876.76 for 2016, that is up from $4781.14 in 2015.

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. This bill passed Senate Appropriations and the Senate floor without opposition.

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

Sen Tim Rave (R, Dist 25) and Rep Justin Cronin (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors. This was amended by Senate Appropriations from $200,000 down to $1. It then passed the committee 8-0. It was amended on the Senate floor to give it an emergency clause and passed 34-0. This would appropriate funds for the Board of Regents to use for the South Dakota need-based grant fund.

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

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

Sen Tim Rave (R, Dist 25) and Rep Justin Cronin (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors. This was amended by Senate Appropriations from $200,000 down to $1. It then passed the committee 8-0. It was amended on the Senate floor to give it an emergency clause and passed 34-0. This would appropriate money for the Board of Regents to use for the South Dakota critical teaching needs scholarship program.

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

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

Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23)  and Rep Dan Dryden (R, Dist 34) are the prime sponsors. 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 passed Senate Appropriations 9-0 and the Senate floor 33-0.

This has already been amended once in House Appropriations. It was once again hoghoused. Now it provides a maintenance and repair fund for tech schools. The emergency clause was dropped. And it no longer seems to directly appropriate any money. Instead unobligated money from the general fund on July 13th can b e placed into this newly created fund. Any money from gifts, grants, or other funds may be deposited in the subfund.

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

Sen Larry Tidemann (R, Dist 7) and Rep Scott Munsterman (R, Dist 7) are the prime sponsors. This bill passed Senate Appropriations 8-0 after being amended. Before being amended, this bill appropriated $250,000 to fund the alternative care program being created by this bill. In addition, $4,000 of that money can be used for administration of the fund. The amendment changed the appropriated amount down to $1. It passed the Senate floor 30-2.

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

Senate Education committee has 3 bills on Thurs Mar 5

March 4, 2015 1 comment

sport2010On Thursday, March 5th, at 8:00 AM the SD Senate Education committee will take on 3 bills.

HB 1118 – SoDakLiberty PostsProvide for oversight of postsecondary technical institutes.

Rep Mark Mickelson (R, Dist 13) and Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors. This bill was hoghoused in House State Affairs and passed that committee 12-0 and the House floor 66-1. A big addition from this bill is to set up a board of nine members for each LEA. Mickelson has definitely been pushing for changes to tech schools. Possibly a good issue for running for higher office in the future…..

HB 1218 – SoDakLiberty PostsCreate certain funding for education in South Dakota.

Rep Julie Bartling (D, Dist 21) and Sen Billie Sutton (D, Dist 21) are the prime sponsors. This is a hoghouse vehicle bill that was actually filled with legislation in House Ed. The bill allows “Any school district may make payments from its capital outlay fund for the support of a postsecondary technical institute located in the school district’s region”.  Like I said with HB 1118. Mickelson is really pushing for Tech school changes. The bill passed the House floor 60-9.

BILLS FOR POSSIBLE ACTION WHICH HAVE HAD PRIOR HEARING.

HB 1161 – SoDakLiberty PostsLimit certain rule making authority of the South Dakota High School Activities Association.

Rep Steven Haugaard (R, Dist 10) and Sen Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2) are the prime sponsors. This bill passed out of House Education 9-6 and the House floor 46-23. This a companion to HB 1195 (SoDakLiberty Posts). It would prevent the SDHSAA from creating a transgender policy. HB 1195 is now dead, but this one is still alive. Here is what I said about HB 1195 and feel applies to this bill:

I’m no fan of the SDHSAA. But, it is probably time for the legislature to realize that transgendered individuals are a part of the modern world. No amount of laws are going to change that. This bill being passed into law isn’t going to change that. If the legislature wants to go after SDHSAA there are plenty of other areas to do that on. I’ve spoken with more than one athletic director in the last year that feels the SDHSAA doesn’t work with schools, instead they dictate to schools.

House Taxation committee has 3 bills on Thurs Mar 5

March 4, 2015 1 comment

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

SB 189 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Provide a tax credit to insurance companies that contribute to an organization providing educational scholarships to certain students and instructional supply grants to certain teachers and parents.

Sen Phyllis Heineman (R, Dist 13) and Rep Brian Gosch (R, Dist 32) are the prime sponsors. This bill has had a journey. This bill was amended in Senate Ed. It then failed a Do Pass motion by 3-3. It was then sent to the floor with no recommendation. The Senate floor then voted 24-7 to allow it to be placed on the calendar. It had a slight amendment on the Senate floor (that failed to change the problems many have with the bill). It then passed the Senate floor 23-12. This bill allows certain insurance companies to contribute money to a scholarship to be used in private schools and then get a tax credit. I am definitely for companies giving scholarships. I am also for private schools. But I have a hard time supporting this bill. It basically uses taxpayer dollars to subsidize a private school. I wouldn’t think private schools would want this either. If enough of these type bills are passed it will only be a matter of time before strings start becoming attached to them with certain mandates. No, lets keep private schools away from public funding.

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

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

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

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

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