Janklow focuses on kids in state of state By Andrea Skalland and Jaimi Reimer Protecting the welfare of South Dakota's children was at the core of Gov. Bill Janklow's State of the State address Jan. 13.
The governor proposed a variety of programs to help the state's youth, such as mandatory parenting classes for adults and juveniles in the state's correctional institutions, tougher penalties for sex offenders, a study for the coming year that would eventually add preschool for 4-year-olds to the school system, increased efforts at child support collection and mandatory 30-day jail sentences for individuals caught with drugs.
"Between a couple thousand of us ? we can do this," Janklow said. "We can accomplish this in a year."
Sen. John Reedy, D-Vermillion agreed with Janklow that a need exists to examine South Dakota wages.
Janklow has proposed a study that would examine state wages in order to determine what wages are paid in different geographical areas in South Dakota by big or small business.
Reedy is also sympathetic towards Janklow's concern for children. He believes adding preschool to the current school system would be beneficial for all involved.
The senator said he was not aware there were so many people across the state who weren't paying sales tax. Reedy feels Janklow's 45-day tax amnesty program is a great idea.
He also agrees with the governor's comments regarding drugs.
"When it comes to drugs, we need to get tough. I agree with not offering offenders plea bargains," Reedy said.
Many of the issues the governor touched on during his speech dealt with improving the general welfare of South Dakotans:
* Education — Janklow proposed sending all families with children a compact disc of classical music. Listening to classical music daily can help increase a child's intelligence level, Janklow said.
The governor would also like to see a higher education building completed in Sioux Falls as part of the Southeast Technical Institute.
* Crime — Janklow wants to end the option of plea bargaining in sex offender cases involving children. He said those offenders should be treated the same way we treat dogs that bite people.
"We should throw them in a cage," he said.
Janklow also wants to get tough on drugs. In the past four years 341 schools were searched for drugs. Drugs were found in approximately 20 percent of the districts searched.
* School consolidation — The governor would like to see a program put into place that would allow schools to merge, but would allow them to receive the same amount of state aid for four years.
* Taxes — The governor will have a temporary tax amnesty for people who should be paying their taxes but aren't. People or businesses that choose to be part of the 45-day program will not be charged with a crime. However, they will need to pay all interest and penalties that are due. This amnesty does not apply to persons who have been audited, are currently being audited or have received notice of an audit.
The governor is asking the legislature to repeal the special exemption/credit that railroads are given so that they do not pay property taxes.
* Transportation — Janklow said some kind of revenue increase is necessary to meet state requirements for receiving federal highway money. A 3-cent gas tax increase has been proposed, but Janklow said he is not in favor of increasing a tax that will fix roads repeatedly wrecked by overweight trucks.
* Year 2000 — Janklow wants to start a study that would deal with Year 2000 readiness.