We’re down to the final two weeks of the 2013 Legislative Session, with some of the most contentious issues and the budget still remaining.
The federal sequestration deadline is March 1. Many have serious doubts that Congress will act before then, which means automatic across-the-board spending cuts over the next ten years, totalling about $1.2 trillion.
Here are some quick numbers about the South Dakota state budget:
For every tax dollar you pay,
- 46 cents goes for education, including K-12, Higher Education, the Tech Schools, and the Department of Education
- 39 cents is to take care of people through Medicaid, the Human Services Center, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and similar programs
- 10 cents is for protecting the public – corrections, the court system, public safety, and Attorney General
- 5 cents funds the rest of state government, consisting of ten departments, four bureaus, the legislature, the Governor’s Office, and the five Constitutional Offices.
The House was in Session until after ten o’clock last Wednesday night as we worked to finish all House bills by the “crossover” deadline. The Senate was in session until about 8:30 p.m., dealing with their bill load.
The bill dealing with nonmeandered lakes was tabled by the Senate State Affairs committee after GF&P Secretary Jeff Vonk and the attorney representing the landowners committed to working over the summer interim to find a solution they could both agree upon.
The bill to promote patient choice (HB1142) passed the House 39-30 and has been referred to Senate Commerce. HB1237, dealing with the 72-hour abortion counseling period, passed the House 56-13 and has been referred to Senate State Affairs.
The school sentinel bill had a public hearing last Friday in Senate State Affairs committee and was sent to the floor on a 5-4 vote. The bill was amended to remove the provision stating that any discussion conducted by a school board regarding a school sentinel program was to be conducted in an executive or closed meeting.
The House will be dealing with a package of four bills that came out of the Teen Safe Driving Task Force. One would extend the length of time for a learner’s permit, one would ban use of handheld electronic devices by young drivers, one would restrict the number of kids in a car, and one would create statewide standards for driver education. The House will also have an opportunity to consider a statewide texting ban.
Complete committee information, as well as contact information for the three District 24 legislators may be found on the Legislative Research Council website at: http://legis.state.sd.us
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 605-773-3851 and leaving a message.