South Dakota received more good news last week, when the Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranked South Dakota as second in the nation for overall freedom. The ranking is based on policies that shape personal and economic freedom. We rank best among the states in terms of fiscal policy, thanks to our extremely low levels of taxation and prudent approach to spending. We also rank well on regulatory policy.
The House passed three bills this past week which are designed to enhance consumer protection in the insurance industry. One would allow the Division of Insurance to impose fines on insurance producers, one would allow the Director of Insurance to disclose certain information relating to insurance investigations, and the third would enact the National Association of Insurance Commissioners model act for Unfair Claims Settlement.
The Senate dealt with three bills pertaining to the Common Core standards for education. This education initiative, developed by educators from 27 states (including South Dakota) details what K-12 students should know at the end of each grade. The South Dakota Board of Education adopted the standards for English language arts and mathematics. One of the bills passed by the Senate limits the authority of the Board of Education to adopt additional standards; another one adds an additional layer of privacy protection for student information. The Senate defeated a bill to spend $100,000 to create an Evaluation Council to compare the Common Core standards with previous standards used in South Dakota.
Most of the bills we have dealt with so far are agency bills, developed by various departments of state government. These are frequently “cleanup” legislation which make minor changes to existing laws or repeal obsolete statutes. We can expect week three of the Legislature to bring in a flurry of bills, all of which will be listed on the Legislative Research Council website.
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.sd.gov.
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