The pace of bill introduction picked up this past week. We now have more than 210 House bills and 155 Senate bills to consider, with two more days for bills and joint resolutions to be introduced. Many of the bills introduced this past week are “placeholder” bills, which don’t really contain workable legislation but merely serve as a shell for potential future use later in the legislative session.
More than 40 bills have been introduced dealing with education – that is 14% of all bills introduced so far. The topics range from the Common Core Standards to use of capital outlay funds to requiring the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited in every public school classroom at the start of the day. The House narrowly turned down House Resolution 1008, a legislative request for the SD Board of Education to end the state’s involvement with current standards by June 30, 2017. The House Education committee will be considering two Senate bills related to the Common Core discussion. SB63 deals with student privacy and SB64 restricts future adoption of any additional Common Core Standards.
Several bills have also been introduced dealing with nonmeandered waters and public access to waters that are flooding private land. Thanks to work by Senator Corey Brown and the Governor’s Office, it would appear that landowners and sportsmen are somewhat closer to agreement on potential legislation clarifying what waters are open to public recreational access. The compromise bill will be introduced this week.
The House soundly defeated HB1066, a proposal that would have allowed any South Dakota elected official with a concealed weapons permit to carry a weapon in the Capitol or any courthouse in the state. There were multiple arguments against this bill, and it failed on a vote of 18-49. House Local Government committee defeated, on a vote of 8-5, a bill that would have required concealed weapons permits to be issued without a fee.
The Governor’s Office has released two audit reports relating to investigations of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Northern Beef Plant, and use of the federal EB-5 program. The reports are available for the public at: http://www.sdreadytowork.com/Financing-and-incentives–Public-Records.aspx. A third audit is underway, with the results expected soon. The legislature is considering a resolution that, if passed, would request the Joint Committee on Government Operations and Audit to hold hearings on GOED to further review the matter.
Finally, the Governor, with support of legislative leaders, has sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking for permission to partially expand Medicaid coverage, to those earning up to 100 percent of the poverty level (as opposed to the 138 percent level dictated in the Affordable Care Act). People earning between 100 and 138 percent of the poverty level could buy subsidized health insurance through the ACA’s online exchanges.
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.