2017 Legislative Session a week away

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Legislators will gavel into the 92nd Legislative Session next Tuesday, January 10, at noon.

In the House of Representatives, a third of the members have no previous legislative experience; in the Senate, there are five legislators who are new to the process.

The first week of Session will feature the State of the State message on Tuesday, the State of the Judiciary message on Wednesday, and the State of the Tribes message on Thursday.  The Appropriations Committee will begin hearing budget requests from various state agencies beginning on Wednesday morning.

When Governor Daugaard presented his proposed FY18 budget last month, he indicated that we will be facing a lean budget year.  Part of this is due to the current agricultural economy and part of it is due to the inability to collect sales taxes due from online retailers.  With that, the budget for the fiscal year which begins July 1, 2017, is slightly over $4.6 billion and 13,862 FTEs.  This is a decrease of $55 million and 1.4 FTE from the current year’s budget.

The proposal includes:

  • 5% for Health, Human and Social services
  • 7% for State Aid to Education
  • 1% for Higher Education
  • 1% for Corrections
  • 5% for the Legislature, Unified Judicial System, Public Utilities Commission, and Elected Officials
  • 3% for Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, and GF&P
  • 8% for the remainder of State Government

There are a couple of issues I have been working on this past summer that I anticipate will attract legislative attention.  One is the need to upgrade and expand the Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (ADRDL) in Brookings.  The lab was built in 1967 and expanded in 1993.  It is outdated and overcrowded and needs significant investment to continue its work for animal health in South Dakota.  I have been working with the agricultural industry, the Governor’s office, and other legislators on finding a way to pay for the lab expansion and upgrades.

In his budget address, the governor proposed using $5 million in one-time money and $1.5 million in operations to support the upgrade and expansion of the ADRDL.  He also indicated one-time money will be coming from SDSU for the project.  Legislators will be working to find ways to finance the remaining $46.2 million for the project.

I was also privileged to participate in a bi-partisan work group established by the Secretary of State on campaign finance reporting.  The goal of our work group was to make the reporting process more consistent and more transparent.  With the passage and subsequent injunction on IM22, I believe the work we did this past summer will be a valuable place to start as the Legislature works to make sure our laws provide citizens with the information they are seeking on candidates and elected officials.

These issues, and others, will be covered in greater detail as the Session unfolds.  You can find comprehensive legislative information online at: sdlegislature.gov.

Please feel free to contact me at Mary.Duvall@sdlegislature.gov or maryduvall@midco.net

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