2013 Legislative Session — Week 8

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Late last week legislative leaders unveiled the framework for an economic development package called “Building South Dakota.” The bipartisan plan calls for capturing contractors’ excise taxes from certain new projects, as well as using some of the unclaimed property revenue, “for the purpose of building and reinvesting in South Dakota’s economy and to create high quality jobs.”

Five main areas would be funded from the “Building South Dakota” fund:

  1. local infrastructure,
  2. economic development partnership efforts with local entities,
  3. workforce education,
  4. housing, and
  5. recapitalizing the Revolving Economic Development and Initiative (REDI) fund.

The Joint Appropriations Committee took time to hear revenue projections for the remainder of this fiscal year, and the new one beginning July 1.  Two separate sources gave their projections: the Bureau of Finance and Management, and the Legislative Research Council.  Although the two use different methods for forecasting state revenues, the two numbers were within one percent of each other in a $1.3 billion budget.

Last week the House passed SB84, to create a new commission to regulate boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, and sparring competitions.  The bill now goes to the governor’s desk.

Two of the bills suggested by the Teen Safe Driving Task force were passed out of House Transportation committee.  SB106 would prohibit young drivers from using handheld electronic devices, and SB216 would establish standards for driver education courses.  The other two bills, dealing with lengthening the time for a learner’s permit and restricting the number of passengers in a car, were deferred to the 41st Legislative Day by the committee.  SB142, to create a statewide ban on all texting while driving, was defeated in House Judiciary committee on a vote of 8-5.  It had earlier passed the Senate 24-9.

The Senate this past week approved the bill clarifying that the 72-hour abortion counseling period does not include weekends or holidays.  This bill now awaits the governor’s signature.  The Senate also amended and passed the School Sentinel bill (HB1087), sending it back to the House for concurrence in amendments.

Two bills dealing with watershed management are still being discussed.  SB153 streamlines and clarifies the process for forming a watershed district.  HB1235 continues the Regional Watershed Advisory Task Force with financial support from agricultural groups.

The Main Run of the Session ends on Friday, March 8, followed by a two-week break.  Legislators will return to Pierre on Monday, March 25, for Veto Day.

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 rep.duvall@state.sd.us, or by calling 605-773-3851 and leaving a message.

2013 Legislative Session — Week 6

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Three weeks remain in the Main Run of the 2013 Legislative Session.  Appropriations committee members continue to work on the state budget for FY14, which begins July 1 this year and continues through June 30, 2014.  A key component of the budget picture – whether there will be federal sequestration and how that will affect South Dakota – remains in limbo.

Medicaid.  Based on comments from constituents and interest groups, legislative leaders scheduled a special joint Health and Human Services committee hearing to discuss Medicaid Expansion.  This is a complicated issue with a lot of moving parts, and the more information legislators have, the better.

HB1135.  I offered an amendment to HB1135, the bill giving landowners the ability to regulate access to flooded private property.  In response to what many felt was a great deal of misinformation and misdirection by wildlife groups on the issue, the amendment was designed to clarify that this deals only with recreational access to private property, it does not seek to disrupt 130 years of water law.  The amendment also sought to further clarify that this deals only with nonmeandered bodies of water.  The bill passed the House 37-32 and has been referred to Senate State Affairs.

Gun Bills.  Two unsuccessful attempts were made to “smoke out” gun bills that had died in committee.  A “smoke out” is a legislative maneuver by which one-third of the members elect can direct a committee to send a bill to the floor.  One of the bills was referred to by supporters as the “Constitutional Carry” bill, because it basically did away with the concealed carry permit in South Dakota.  It had only one proponent in committee, and was opposed by law enforcement.  The other bill would have provided that any federal law imposing limitations on firearms or limiting the size of firearm magazines was unenforceable in South Dakota.  It died in committee on a 12-1 vote.  Neither smoke out attempt was successful.

HB1142.  Issues which are proving to be contentious include legislation to require insurance companies to allow a patient to go to any medical provider who is willing to meet the terms and conditions established by the health insurer.  Patient advocates believe that HB1142 will improve patient choice; insurance companies contend it will lead to increased medical costs.

HB1237.  Another controversial bill is HB 1237, which would specify that the 72-hour waiting period before an abortion does not include weekends or holidays.  Proponents say this is needed because pregnancy counseling centers are not open on weekends or holidays; opponents say this adds an extra burden to women seeking an abortion.  It passed House Judiciary Committee on a 9-2 vote.

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 rep.duvall@state.sd.us, or by calling 605-773-3851 and leaving a message.