2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Tom Pischke Week 9 Update

Pischke_2017The main portion of the 2018 Legislative Session finished up on Friday, March 9th, and while it included many positives, people should be alerted to the dramatic expansion in government spending that is occurring each year and the increasing tax burden placed on the shoulders of our citizens.

South Dakotans take pride in the fact that their State Government, by comparison, is one of the more financially sound states in the nation. Our state retirement is fully funded, so we can keep our commitments to our teachers and state employees. We have a AAA bond credit rating, enabling us to construct buildings at low interest rates. Our state Constitution, approved by the voters, requires a structurally balanced budget, so we can’t spend more money than we take in.

But while we are not on the brink of insolvency like some other states, I don’t believe that’s enough to say that we are doing well at managing our responsibility to you, the citizens and taxpayers. If you’re like me, you expect that we will find ways each year to spend your dollars more effectively, and you expect our programs to help people toward personal responsibility, not create more dependency.

In 2017 the State spent $4.148 billion. In 2019, the budget is set to spend $4.688 billion. That’s an increase of $540 million or 13% in just two years. That’s $5417 for every man, woman and child and an increase of about $623 per person in 2 years.  Personally, my income hasn’t increased 13% in two years so it’s hard to justify that the government should increase it’s spending by that same mark.  We’ve also added 612 full time employees (FTE) in two years.

One substantial portion of the increased budget this year was due to the Federal Government changing the rules to comply with their responsibility to fund healthcare for our Native American population. They directed Indian Health Services to pay for 100% of the medical costs for their enrolled members who are eligible for Medicaid. This resulted in substantial savings to the state, which could have been used to reduce the tax burden on our South Dakota families, spent to ensure there are enough high quality workers caring for disabled citizens, or used to fund the education increases we passed so that you wouldn’t see your property taxes go up.

Instead, the proposal was to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates, expand Medicaid services, and expand the number of people eligible to bill Medicaid for their services. Some targeted reimbursement rate increases are necessary to ensure we have the staff to help care for the truly disabled. But much of the benefit of this expansion goes to the big 3 hospital systems in our state, who put a lot of pressure on legislators to go along with the “grand bargain” and not to change it. Once these expansions are authorized, there is no discretion by the State. We simply have to pay the bills.

Some of us determined that it was not necessary or prudent to expand Medicaid services at this time, and fought to stop Medicaid expansion in the state budget. We have seen Medicaid expansion plans really sink state budgets in other states. It seemed wiser to wait until the next Governor takes office before saddling them with an expansion that could really get out of control. We got 17 legislators to oppose the budget presented, but were unsuccessful in stopping the expansion.

It will be important to watch carefully what happens with this in the session next year. Will the numbers come in as predicted, or will it be another bait and switch that promises savings, but really ends up growing government? The important thing is to remember history and stay watchful. If we do so, we can keep the government accountable to the promises made so that your taxes are being spent as wisely as possible and that your family budget is the one that grows, instead of the State’s.

Share and Like this story:

2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Tom Pischke Week 8 Update

Pischke_2017The South Dakota Legislature concluded its eight week of session on Thursday.  We had a busy week in the House dealing with all of the bills that passed through the Senate.  On one day, we dealt over 30 bills, which is large number to be debated in one day.  As the session is now winding down, we are focusing on finalizing the budget and choosing our priorities in what should be funded and with how many dollars.

HOUSE UPDATES

•SB 105 allows a physician to administer a toxicology test on a newborn baby (neonate is the first 28 days of life) if the child exhibits symptoms of illness related to drug abuse. SB 105 includes a provision to exempt a healthcare provider from criminal and civil liability both if this test is administered and if in good faith the provider decides against performing a toxicology test. SB 105 passed Senate Health and Human Services 6-1 and passed the Senate Floor 33-2. In the House it passed the Judiciary Committee 10-1 and the House Floor 59-5.

•SB 84 prohibits any state agency from entering into a confidential settlement with a third party. All settlements requiring monetary damages or equitable relief shall be a matter of public record. SB 84 passed Senate Judiciary 5-2 and passed the Senate Floor 21-13. However, it failed in House Judiciary 10-3.

•SB 64 changes the penalties for trafficking a minor. Previously, the criminal penalty for attempted trafficking was less severe than if the trafficking was completed. However, since many human traffickers are caught in  stings, which only allows a criminal charge for attempted trafficking, in that scenario the offender would receive half the prison sentence. SB 64 changes statute so that attempted trafficking and trafficking both receive the same criminal penalty. SB 64 passed Senate Judiciary 6-0 and the Senate Floor 34-0. In the House it came through both House Judiciary and the House floor with zero no votes.

•SB 9 would require a fiscal note, compiled by LRC, to accompany both initiated measures and constitutional amendments to determine the cost or lack thereof to the state upon passage. This bill passed Senate State Affairs 7-2 and Passed the Senate Floor 29-6. In the House it passed State Affairs 8-2 and the House Floor 58-9.

SENATE UPDATES

•HB 1199 Banned collective bargaining at the regental schools. HB 1199 passed the House. However, after passing the Senate State Affairs Committee 5-4 HB199 failed on the Senate Floor 16-18.

•HJR 1004 would submit to the voters for approval changes to the victim’s rights or “Marsy’s Law” constitutional amendment passed in 2016. HJR 1004 clarifies certain provisions of the law and allows law enforcement to release certain information regarding criminal activity. HJR 1004 passed the House State Affairs Committee 13-0 and passed the House Floor without opposition. The Senate Taxation Committee concurred 6-0 and it passed the Senate Floor 27-8.

•HB 1311 would change legislator salaries from 6,000 dollars a year to one fifth of South Dakota’s median income as defined by the U.S census and would be adjusted by the South Dakota Board of Finance. HB 1311 passed the House State Affairs Committee 10-4 and passed the House Floor 50-16. HB 1311 will be heard in Senate State Affairs.

•HB 1081 expands the sunset clause for the non-meandered waters compromise until 2021. This bill passed House State Affairs 11-1 and passed the House Floor 51-12. HB 1081 passed Senate Agriculture 7-2 and Passed the Senate Floor 20-15.

•HB 1100 requires a printed name to go along with a signature on all public contracts. The reason for this change is a public contract involving an illegible signature. This bill passed State Affairs unanimously and passed the House Floor with one no vote. HB 1100 passed the House Judiciary Committee 5-0 and passed the Senate Floor 33-0.

•HB 1264 authorizes the construction of a precision agriculture classroom and laboratory at SDSU. HB 1264 passed House State Affairs 13-0 and passed the House Floor 66-0. It will be heard in Senate Appropriations on Monday.

If you have any questions and/or comments on these bills or any other legislation, please email me at tom.pischke@sdlegislature.gov

Share and Like this story:

2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Tom Pischke Week 7 Update

Pischke_2017The South Dakota Legislature concluded its seventh week of session FridayFriday was crossover day, a day in which all of the bills need to be out of the chamber in which they originate.  This means all House Bills needed to be voted on by the end of this day.  Luckily, we managed the schedule pretty well this year and we were able to end at a decent time on crossover day with only a few bills left for consideration.

HOUSE UPDATES

•HJR 1004 would submit to the voters for approval changes to the victim’s rights or “Marsy’s Law” constitutional amendment passed in 2016.  HJR 1004 clarifies certain provisions of the law and allows law enforcement to release certain information regarding criminal activity. HJR 1004 passed the House State Affairs Committee 13-0 and passed the House Floor without opposition.

•HB 1293 would make assaulting a firefighter or a paramedic while they are performing their duties a felony.  A simple assault would be classified as a class 6 felony and aggravated assault would be classified as a class 2 felony.  HB 1293 passed House State Affairs 13-0 and passed the House Floor 64-0

•HB 1201 would have required ballot initiatives to include the county in which the sponsor of the initiative resides, and also would have required the total amount of compensation for sponsorship on the ballot.  HB 1201 passed the House State Affairs committee 9-3 but failed on the House Floor 34-32.

•HB 1311 would change legislator salaries from 6,000 dollars a year to one fifth of South Dakota’s median income as defined by the U.S census and would be adjusted by the South Dakota Board of Finance. HB 1311 passed the House State Affairs Committee 10-4 and passed the House Floor 50-16.

•HB 1275 would have required petition gatherers to acquire petitions from a majority of South Dakota’s 35 senate districts.  The senate district in which the signature was gathered would need to be noted on the signature line and without that note the signature would be invalid.  HB 1275 passed the House State Affairs Committee 7-6 but failed on the House Floor 20-45.

SENATE UPDATES

•SB 93 would make knowingly exposing an individual to a sexually transmitted disease a class one misdemeanor.  SB 93 passed Senate Judiciary 6-1 and passed the Senate Floor without opposition.

•SB 182 would have changed statutes regarding rape.  Currently under South Dakota law the prosecution must prove that the defendant knew the victim was underage or incapacitated.  Provisions under 182 would have changed that requirement and lessened the prosecutorial burden to a reasonable person standard.   SB 182 passed Senate Judiciary 4-3 but failed on the Senate Floor 16-18.

•SB 155 would make transportation costs the responsibility of an individual incarcerated in a county jail.  SB 155 would allow for repayment plans not exceeding one year and would also allow a judge to waive the fees if the individual demonstrates an inability to pay.  SB 155 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 5-2 and passed the Senate Floor after being amended 34-0.

•SB 95 would change South Dakota’s “ingestion” law from a felony to a class one misdemeanor.  SB 95 passed out of Senate Judiciary without recommendation, it was put on the calendar but failed on the Senate Floor 12-22.

•SB 169 was hog housed to allow manufacturers of confectionaries to use small amounts of alcohol in frosting or other stages of baking.  SB 169 came through the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee 6-1 and Passed the Senate Floor 34-1.

•SB 92 prohibits willfully attacking an individual with corrosive materials otherwise known as “acid attacks”.  SB 92 makes the offense a Class 3 Felony.  SB 92 passed through Senate Judiciary 5-1 and will be heard on the Senate Floor Friday.

If you have any questions and/or comments on these bills or any other legislation, please email me at tom.pischke@sdlegislature.gov

Share and Like this story:

2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Tom Pischke Week 6 Update

Pischke_2017The South Dakota Legislature concluded its sixth week of session Thursday.  We are finally starting to get caught up with our heavy workload.  2018 has been one of the busiest sessions in recent history with over 500 bills that have been submitted for consideration.  This is among the largest number of bills submitted in over a decade.

HOUSE UPDATES

•HB 1109 would allow inmates who are over the age of 55, have not committed a crime in the first degree, have served ten consecutive years of their sentence, and have a serious medical condition that requires heavy medical supervision to be paroled provided they have a plan for medical care. HB 1109 passed the House Judiciary Committee 10-1 and passed the House Floor 48-17.

•HB 1250 would have raised the legal smoking age in South Dakota from 18 to 21. HB 1250 passed House Health and Human Services 8-4 but died on the House Floor 21-45.

•HB 1268 would change the prefiling date for legislation and would allow legislators to pre-file legislation as early as July. HB 1268 passed House State Affairs 11-1 and passed the House Floor 66-0.

•HB 1199 prohibits collective bargaining by employees of the Board of Regents. HB 1199 passed House State Affairs 8-5 and passed the House Floor 37-28.

•HB 1184 allows for waste disposal lines to be laid along or underneath highways. HB 1184 passed the House Transportation Committee 7-6 and passed the House Floor 45-20.

•HB 1216 would prohibit citizens or entities not from South Dakota or registered with the Secretary of state 4 years prior to the election from donating more than one hundred thousand dollars in the aggregate. HB 1216 passed the House State Affairs Committee 7-6 and passed the House Floor after being reconsidered 36-30.

•HB 1230 would make texting and driving a primary offense. HB 1230 passed the House Judiciary Committee 11-2 and passed the House Floor after being reconsidered 40-26.

•HB 1305 would have allowed Independents to vote in party primaries. However, the bill would have also required the voter to indicate in which primary they would like to vote. HB 1305 passed House State Affairs 10-2 but died on the House Floor 29-37.

SENATE UPDATES

•SB 214 would create an independent commission to set legislator pay. The commission would be set by the executive board and require that no more than 6 members of the same party comprise the board. The commission would examine salaries in other state legislatures and consider a number of factors to determine the appropriate compensation and give this report to LRC each January. SB 214 passed the Senate Committee on Appropriations unanimously and will be heard on the Senate floor next week.

•SB 185 allows for the expungement of criminal charges if an individual avoids going to trail by agreeing to a diversion program. In order to qualify, the individual must finish the diversion program and remain drug free for one year following release from the program. SB 185 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Floor with zero no votes.

•SB 65 changes the criminal penalties regarding drug deliveries. If an individual dies from an illegal substance, whoever sold the substance to the victim is subject to the principle offense being 2 classes higher not exceeding a Class C Felony. SB 65 passed Senate Judiciary 6-0 and passed the Senate Floor 32-3.

•SJR 3 To apply for a convention of states under Article V of the Constitution of the United States to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government and limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. SJR 3 passed Senate State Affairs 7-2 but died on the Senate Floor 16-18.

•SB 24 extended the effective date of provisions regarding the recreational use of non-meandered water. SB 24 passed Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources 7-2 and passed the Senate Floor 26-9.

If you have any questions and/or comments on these bills or any other legislation, please email me at tom.pischke@sdlegislature.gov

Share and Like this story:

2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Tom Pischke Week 5 Update

Pischke_2017The South Dakota Legislature concluded its fifth week of session Thursday with one of the heaviest legislative loads most of the current legislators have ever experienced.  Currently there are over 500 bills that have been submitted for consideration which is among the largest number of bills in over a decade.

HOUSE UPDATES

•  HB 1070, a 65-page measure to revise and repeal certain provisions regarding alcoholic beverage laws, many of which are considered antiquated and unenforceable, passed the House of Representatives this week on a 63-5 vote. The ‘liquor law reform bill’ enjoyed unanimous support in committee last week, and is expected to easily move through the State Senate in coming days.

•  HB 1157 authorizes alcohol manufacturers and wholesalers to enter into certain licensing agreements with certain alcohol retail licenses. This was a state practice for many years, but a recent interpretation of the law did not allow for it. This bill passed the House Judiciary Committee 11-1 and passed the House Floor 40-27.

•  HB 1219 allows sportsmen to use night vision when hunting. However, they may only use certain kinds of ammunition and must receive written permission from the landowner. This bill passed House Agricultural and Natural Resources 10-2 and passed the House Floor 46-21.

• HB 1190 revise the time period for which certain motor vehicle plates are used. Instead of issuing new license plates every 5 years, this changes it to 10 years. The reason for the change is savings to the state of roughly 6 million dollars for the roads and bridges fund. This bill passed House Transportation 9-4 and passed the House on a vote of 41-27.

• HB 1250, a measure to raise South Dakota’s legal smoking age from 18 to 21 passed House Health and Human Services 8-4. The matter is still pending, as a fiscal note was requested. This bill will likely be voted on by the entire house chamber early next week.

• HJR 1001 would change the current law regarding legislator pay and amend the Constitution to make it one fifth of median South Dakota pay. This resolution would submit the issue to the ballot for the voters to approve the change. This resolution passed out of House State Affairs 9-3 and passed the House floor as amended 38-26. HJR 1001 was referred to Senate State Affairs and will be heard next week.

• House Bill 1071 moved through both the State House and the Senate at a rapid pace, with the unusual step of the Senate suspending committee assignment after the House heard it as part of the joint appropriations process. The bill to authorize the relocation of the School for the Blind and the Visually Impaired and transfer of its existing real estate and facilities to Northern State University passed the Senate on a 34-1 vote. This measure will provide for the construction of a new School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which will cost an estimated $13.6 million, but will be paid for through private donations.

SENATE UPDATES

• SB 137 changes the minimum hunting age in South Dakota from ten years old and effectively leaves the matter to parental discretion. The child must be hunting with a parent or a “hunting mentor.” A hunting mentor is the child’s parent or guardian or any other competent adult who has the written consent of the child’s parent or guardian. The hunting mentor shall be a resident of this state, shall be unarmed except as provided in this section, shall have successfully completed a hunter safety or hunter education course and they must also have a license for the game being hunted. This bill passed Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources 9-0 and passed the Senate Floor 30-4.

• SB 50 allows for the construction of the American Indian Student center at South Dakota State University and allows for an appropriation. SB 50 passed the Joint Committee on Appropriations without opposition and passed the Senate Floor 28-6.

• SB 54 to provide additional funds to counties to pay for extraordinary litigation expenses on an emergency basis passed the Senate 25-9, and now moves to the House. This fund assists counties with the cost of prosecuting criminals, and the additional appropriation reflects higher than anticipated expenses in the current fiscal year.

• House Bill 1043 was passed unanimously by the State Senate 35-0 to provide for the construction of a National Guard Readiness Center at the Rapid City Airport. This represents the first installment of $500,00o to help fund the construction of a $20 million building next to the Guard’s existing Army Aviation Support Facility at Rapid City Regional Airport.  The state’s ultimate share of the project cost is expected to be $5 million, while $15 million in federal funding has already been secured.

If you have any questions and/or comments on these bills or any other legislation, please email me at tom.pischke@sdlegislature.gov

Share and Like this story:

2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Tom Pischke Week 4 Update

Pischke_2017The South Dakota Legislature concluded its fourth week of session on February 2nd.  Below are some of the notable bills currently being considered.

SENATE BILLS

• SB 46 changes the rules for South Dakota schools with regards to the use of restraint and seclusion. SB 46 requires the school to notify parents in the event of a restraint, prohibits prone restraints, and forbids schools to confine children involuntarily. SB 46 passed Senate Education 5-1 and passed the Senate floor 32-3.

• SB 84 prohibits any state agency from entering into a confidential settlement with a third party. All settlements requiring monetary damages or equitable relief shall be a matter of public record. SB 84 passed Senate Judiciary 5-2 and passed the Senate Floor 21-13.

• SB 105 allows a physician to administer a toxicology test on a newborn baby (neonate is the first 28 days of life) if the child exhibits symptoms of illness related to drug abuse. SB 105 includes a provision to exempt a healthcare provider from criminal and civil liability both if this test is administered and if in good faith the provider decides against performing a toxicology test. SB 105 passed Senate Health and Human Services 6-1 and passed the Senate Floor 33-2.

• SB 64 changes the penalties for trafficking a minor. Previously, the criminal penalty for attempted trafficking was less severe than if the trafficking was completed. However, since many human traffickers are caught in stings, which only allows a criminal charge for attempted trafficking, in that scenario the offender would receive half the prison sentence. SB 64 changes statute so that attempted trafficking and trafficking both receive the same criminal penalty. SB 64 passed both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate floor unanimously.

• SB 79 would allow independents to sign nominating petitions for candidates. Current law only allows members of the candidate’s party to sign nominating petitions. This bill passed State Affairs with no opposing votes and it passed the Senate Floor 24-10.

HOUSE BILLS

• HB 1008 allows the Secretary of Transportation to set temporary variable speed limits in the state trunk highway system and interstates. The bill is meant to be used in cases of severe weather, road conditions, or road work. Violations of the temporary speed limit would be a class 2 misdemeanor. This bill passed the House Transportation committee 12-0 and passed the House Floor 52-16.

• HB 1093 Allows insurance policies to be printed in languages other than English. HB 1093 passed the House Commerce and Energy Committee 9-4 and passed the House Floor 57-11.

• HB 1073 protects free speech on South Dakota’s college campuses. HB 1073 prevents South Dakota’s public college campuses from limiting free speech as outlined in the first Amendment unless the speech involved includes a direct threat or other forms of lawless behavior. HB 1073 will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee Friday February 2nd.

• HB 1081 expands the sunset clause for the non-meandered waters compromise until 2021. This bill passed House State Affairs 11-1 and passed the House Floor 51-12. This bill will be heard in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee later this week.

• HJR 1001 would change the current law regarding legislator pay and amend the Constitution to make it one fifth of median South Dakota pay. This resolution would submit the issue to the ballot for the voters to approve the change. This resolution passed out of House State Affairs 9-3 and passed the House floor as amended 38-26.

If you have any questions and/or comments on these bills or any other legislation, please email me at tom.pischke@sdlegislature.gov

Share and Like this story:

2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Tom Pischke Week 3 Update

Pischke_2017The South Dakota Legislature concluded its third week of session Thursday.  Below are some of the notable bills currently being considered.

SENATE BILLS

•SB 67 expunges the criminal record of sex trafficking victims under the age of 18. Minors who are found to have been a part of a trafficking ring may apply to the court for expungement provided they did not engage in other criminal activities. SB 67 passed both Senate Judiciary and the Senate floor unanimously.

SB 56 changes the eligibility and requirements for disabled and elderly individuals to receive refunds for sales tax and property tax. This bill contains an emergency clause and it passed Senate Appropriations and the Senate floor without opposition.

•SB 11 changes the time frame in which a ballot committee may submit their proposal to LRC. This bill passed Senate State affairs with one no vote and passed the Senate Floor 30-3

•SB 10 provides a solution in the event there are two ballot measures in conflict with one another in the same election year. While a Constitutional Amendment would still supersede a change in statute, if two laws conflict the one with the most votes would be the winner. This bill passed both Senate State Affairs and the Senate floor without opposition.

•SB 9 would require a fiscal note, compiled by LRC, to accompany both initiated measures and constitutional amendments to determine the cost or lack thereof to the state upon passage. This bill passed Senate State Affairs 7-2 and Passed the Senate Floor 29-6

•SB 79 would allow independents to sign nominating petitions for candidates. Current law only allows members of the candidate’s party to sign nominating petitions. This bill passed State Affairs with no opposing votes and it passed the Senate Floor 24-10.

HOUSE BILLS

•HB 1058 removes the requirement for the superintendent of the South Dakota School for the Deaf to be proficient in sign language. The reason for this change is that the School for the Visually Impaired and the School for the Deaf have now been combined. This bill passed House State Affairs unanimously and passed the House Floor with two no votes.

•HB 1103 requires State agencies to properly display the Great Seal of South Dakota. This bill contains provisions to protect satirical renderings to remain consistent with the First Amendment. This bill passed House State Affairs with no opposition.

•HB 1032 Exempts credit unions from the requirement to licensed real estate brokers. This bill passed House Commerce and Energy with no opposition and passed the House Floor 46-19.

•HB 1081 removes the sunset clause for the non-meandered waters laws.  This bill passed the House Floor 51-12.

•HB 1100 requires a printed name to go along with a signature on all public contracts. The reason for this change is a public contract involving an illegible signature. This bill passed State Affairs unanimously and passed the House Floor with only one no vote.

•HJR 1001 would change the current law regarding legislator pay and amend the Constitution to make it one fifth of median South Dakota pay.  This was vigorously debated on Thursday, January 25th.  I voted No on the bill but it still passed the House Floor 38-26.

If you have any questions and/or comments on these bills or any other legislation, please email me at tom.pischke@sdlegislature.gov

Share and Like this story:

2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Tom Pischke Week 2 Update

Pischke_2017The South Dakota Legislature concluded its second week of session on Friday. This week’s session included the annual memorial service and finished up the reports executive agencies give to legislative committees.

• SB 44 establishes licensing for gaming manufacturers and distributors and establishes a licensing fee. This provision is for “Associated equipment manufacturer or distributor,” any person who designs, assembles, fabricates, produces, constructs, sells, leases, or otherwise prepares a product or component of any associated equipment.

• HB 1004 allows the state Board of Elections to regulate the font size and the petition size of initiated measures, referred laws, etc.

• HB 1003 is a language clarification of a previously passed bill allowing certain entities to make political contributions. The language in the previous bill did not require these entities to itemize those contributions. HB 1003 requires all donors to political committees to itemize contributions over 100 dollars. This bill has an emergency clause to ensure that political committees are statutorily required to itemize contributions from these entities.

• HJR 1001 fundamentally alters how legislator pay is set. The resolution would change the South Dakota Constitution so that rather than legislators voting on a pay raise, legislator pay would be one fifth of the most recent median South Dakota Household income as provided by law. Other employees of the legislature would stay as is and their pay would still be the purview of the legislature. Legislators have not had a pay increase since 1999. Increasing legislator pay would grow the pool of future potential legislators who at this time simply cannot afford to run for office.

• SB 9 would require a fiscal note, compiled by LRC, to accompany both initiated measures and constitutional amendments to determine the cost or lack thereof to the state upon passage.

• HB 1006 is similar to SB 9. The bill would require the director of LRC to deliver comments on any initiated measure or Constitutional amendment no later than 15 work days after the submission by the sponsor of the measure. The director’s written comments under this section shall include assistance regarding the substantive content of the initiated measure or initiated amendment in order to minimize any conflict with existing law and to ensure the measure’s or amendment’s effective administration. This change is in response to the numerous errors in the IM 22 language and would provide more information and transparency to voters for future ballot initiatives. However, the bill also includes a provision that any initiative sent to LRC from the first day of December to the day of adjournment sine die of session the lrc director shall be given 15 days following adjournment sine die to provide comments.

STATE OF THE TRIBES

At the end of last week the chairman of the tribes delivered the state of the tribes address.  Lower Brule Chairman Boyd Gorneau touched on reconciliation, the meth epidemic and urged the legislature to expand Medicaid.

NON MEANDERING WATERS

Governor Daugaard is proposing to extend the sunset by three years, from 2018 to 2021. This week there was an informational meeting about the issue. While the compromise reached this summer could stay in place it is likely this issue will be debated again during the session.

STATE OF THE JUDICIARY

Last week Chief Justice Gilbertson delivered the State of the Judiciary Address. Justice Gilbertson spoke about the rising meth epidemic and the issues surrounding it. However, he was optimistic that the state’s experiment with drug courts is working and urged the legislature to expand the program to include inpatient treatment for the most severe addictions.

EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENTS

On Thursday 3 executive appointments had hearings in the Senate Education Committee. Former state representative Jacqueline Sly was appointed to the South Dakota State Board of Education Standards. Becky Guffin was also appointed to the South Dakota Board of Education Standards and Don Kirkegaard was appointed to be the interim Department of Education Secretary. These appointments passed the Senate Education Committee and will be heard in the Senate on Monday.

VETERANS CEMETERY

Veterans groups have been advocating for a state cemetery on the east side of the state. The bill for the project would be around 600,000 dollars. However, most of those funds will be secured from the federal government. Ongoing maintenance costs would be paid by the state. However, a portion of those fund are likely to be raised privately by veteran’s groups.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks,

Rep. Tom Pischke

District 25

Share and Like this story:

2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Tom Pischke Week 1 Update

Pischke_2017On Tuesday, Governor Dennis Daugaard gave his final state of the state address as Governor of the great State of South Dakota. State government faces several challenges as we prepare to budget for the coming year, but there are many bright spots on the horizon.

– Sales tax revenues continue to lag behind projections and revenues are tight. We will need to continue to watch revenues over the next two months to ensure we adopt a structurally balanced budget in March. Part of that is due to weak sales tax collections from a strained farm economy, and part is due to on-line and out-of-state retailers.

– The state has taken several steps over the years to try to collect more online retailers to encourage them to remit taxes. The state has reached an agreement with Amazon to collect and remit state and local sales taxes in South Dakota. Amazon began to voluntarily to collect sales tax on February 1st and began remitting in late March.

– Over the past six years, the legislature has passed a repeal over 4,000 sections of obsolete or unnecessary laws and rules, accounting for nearly 470,000 words. We will be proposing more of these bills this year.

– Two years ago, we started to create new conflict of interest standards for state employees. After one year’s experience, there will be legislation this year to clarify and streamline that law so that boards, commissions and school boards can achieve our objective of bringing transparency to these situations.

– South Dakota has now obtained AAA ratings – the highest possible – from all three major credit agencies. The AAA rating saves money when our tech schools, universities, and hospitals issue bonds – we get a lower interest rate because of our bond rating. We have balanced our budget for 128 years and recently placed an explicit requirement for a balanced budget in the constitution.

– Regular maintenance of state-owned facilities prevents larger problems in the future. But we also need to constantly reevaluate our need for the facilities that he have. The Governor is proposing to sell and repurpose unneeded and obsolete State-owned buildings across the state. We owe it to taxpayers to keep the state’s footprint to a minimum, to avoid spending tax dollars on maintenance of unneeded facilities and to return these properties to the tax rolls when possible.

– The total prison population today is lower that it would have been without reforms, but it is higher than we predicted it would be when we passed the Public Safety Improvement Act. We believe it’s due to the increase in methamphetamine trafficking. The Governor is proposing a joint drug interdiction task force, comprised of four new Highway Patrol officers, joined by designated agents of the Division of Criminal Investigation. There is a very close correlation between the increase in drug trafficking and the increase in meth arrests and convictions in South Dakota. We need to stop meth from coming into South Dakota.

– The Governor stressed that we need to find a way to stop out-of-state organizations from experimenting with South Dakota’s constitution and laws. These groups have no ties to our state and often don’t even disclose the source of their funds. They are using our state’s low signature requirement and cheap media markets to attempt to pass 15 constitutional amendments and initiated measures that advance their national agenda but don’t address problems seen in South Dakota. This session, we need to work together to find a way to protect our state from interference by out-of-state groups, while preserving our citizens’ access to direct democracy, so issues that do concern our grassroots can be raised, but not by people who don’t even live here.

If you have concerns about upcoming legislation or ideas to make our state better, please contact me at Tom.Pischke@sdlegislature.gov.

Share and Like this story: